Namibian President, Hifikepunye Pohamba, has commended the government of Botswana for having sustained public investment in healthcare through successive National Development plans since independence.
Speaking at the official opening of the Bokamoso Private Hospital early this week, Pohamba applauded Botswana for pursuing “the vision of having a healthcare system that is both regional and international for quality and excellent service”.
“The key to this vision is the health hub concept in which the remarkable public investment in health is complemented by strategies in private sector investment in order to harness the best skills and technologies to achieve the highest standards of care,” he said.
Pohamba and his Botswana counterpart, President Ian Khama, unveiled the plaque and cut the ribbon at the official opening of the hospital, in whose attendance were high profile members from both the Namibian and Botswana governments.
The Bokamoso Private Hospital, a P700 million health facility, is the brainchild of the Botswana Public Officers Medical Aid Scheme (BPOMAS) and Pula Medical Aid Scheme (PULA), which was conceptualized in 2003 as the two schemes’ approach to affording their clients quality and affordable healthcare.
The Namibian President said that Bokamoso Hospital represents a milestone in the participation of the private sector of the healthcare industry in Botswana.
“Private investments will, no doubt, augment the substantial public investment by bringing in strategic international expertise and state of the art technology to the health sector,” he added.
He asserted that he believed that the hospital “will provide healthcare for its people and will be internationally recognized and provide world standard service”, adding that the hospital will play a vital role in ensuring that Botswana remains a healthy nation, describing it as a fine example of public-private partnership model that will help improve health care services.
Pohamba also maintained that the hospital provided an opportunity to reverse the brain drain that has affected Africa over the years as it has managed to “bring back Batswana who were practicing in the UK, USA and from other parts of the world”.
Health Minister, John Seakgosing, said the hospital is a welcome development to improving the health system in Botswana.
Chairman of the Bokamoso Private Hospital Trust, Mrs. Batatu Tafa, expressed her pride in the fact that the hospital became operational within 20 months after its groundbreaking and was within “our budget”.
Tafa said that the “hospital was built to augment health care service in Botswana,” highlighting that it offers new services, which have always been needed in the country
She further explained that the hospital has a bedding capacity of 200 beds but that can exceed 300, depending on the demand for health care.
About 30 beds are also available for a rehabilitation centre.
Tafa said that the one challenge that they experienced was that the Associated Fund Administrators, which administers the BPOMAS and PULA schemes, had no experience in establishing and running a hospital, thus came in international organizations who offered technical assistance in the running of the hospital, stressing however that the organizations helped the hospital operations since they partnered.
The hospital has been operating in cooperation with international organizations, such as Operating Room International Limited Liability Company (ORI) of New York, Vanderbilt University Medical Centre (VUMC) of Nashville, Tennessee, and the John Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, all from United States of America.
The Hospital opened its doors for operations in January this year, less than two years after its building started.