Prosper Ndlovu in Dubai, UAE
ZIMBABWE’S drive to develop quality health services that will benefit the wider regional community has received endorsement by foreign investors, who are keen on strategic partnerships targeting key service delivery segments in the sector.
Working closely with the private sector, the Government has developed several investment pitches covering health infrastructure development, human capital, logistics, production and supply of critical consumables and drugs, among other pillars.
These were exhibited here yesterday during the Zimbabwe Health Investment Forum hosted by the Ministry of Health and Child Care on the sidelines of the on-going Expo 2020 Dubai.
The platform afforded stakeholders in the health sector, who included policy makers, producers and suppliers to engage closely with their UAE counterparts and visiting delegates over possible synergies or new projects.
India’s Lilavati Group of Hospitals commercial manager, Mr Anand Kota, who said their institution was valued at about US$2 billion, said they were eager to invest in Zimbabwe as a means of tapping into the wider region.
“We are ready to invest into the Zimbabwean health sector and to supply medicines. We have shown our interest in setting up a hospital in Zimbabwe,” he said.
“We have submitted our letter of intent to the Ambassador and we will be coming to Zimbabwe to assess the situation and work on possible PPPs.
“What we know is that the infrastructure is ready and we are committed to help improve medical services and help promote medical tourism.”
Mr Kota said the country’s regional focused vision was strategic as it positions the destination for access to investors who always seek a window for bigger markets.
“The strategic location of Zimbabwe, its skilled human capital, lack of adequate health facilities and proximity to neighbours like Botswana and Zambia is good,” he said.
“Health tourism happens when you are surrounded by those good population numbers.
So, we will be bringing in our board team on the 13th (March) for a meeting and as soon as the meeting ends our chairman is going to meet the President on the 14th.”
President Mnangagwa will be in Dubai on March 14 to lead the National Day events, which will mark the crux of the country’s participation at Expo 2020 Dubai.
Indications are that several deals will be officially sealed in the presence of the leadership on that day.
“We are developing a cure for Covid-19 and we are here to sign an agreement for possible emergencies use of the medicines for the future.
“We have already signed an agreement with the regulator and we are hoping to do business and partner Zimbabwe on possible joint ventures in producing these drugs,” said Mr Alessandro Rosso, a senior official at Code Pharma BV, a global pharmaceutical company headquartered in Netherlands.
His company is focused on developing cost effective remedies for infections and ontological diseases.
“We have visited the Zimbabwe Pavilion at the Dubai expo and understand that Zimbabwe is keen to produce its own vaccines and we thought to come together in this direction,” he added.
Mr Rosso said as a company they believed in production of a lasting Covid-19 treatment/remedy that will not allow the pandemic to adapt into different variants.
Earlier in his keynote address, Acting Minister of Health and Child Care, Professor Amon Murwira, who led the Zimbabwean delegation to the conference, told the investors that Zimbabwe was strategically positioned as the logistical hub for the Sadc and Comesa regions while also being integrated with the entire African continent, which has a population of about 1,4 billion.
“This population provides a huge market opportunity for a lucrative investment in the health care services in Zimbabwe,” he said.
“There is a huge opportunity for investment in establishing emergency logistical services across the country’s highways.
This is untapped opportunity for investment.
In addition, Zimbabwe provides an opportunity for investment in health logistics including ambulance services.
“Investment opportunities are plenty for those who specialise in logistics of medical care products.
For example, in NatPharm, our own medical care logistical company.”
Prof Murwira said the pharmaceutical industry and biomedical equipment segment alone has an investment opportunity of over US$1 billion for a projected population of 17 million people in Zimbabwe.
“This amount easily converts to more than a trillion dollars if we consider the whole of Sadc and the African Union,” he said.
“Furthermore, the Government of Zimbabwe, has reconfigured the medical school and added more focus areas including biomedical engineering, pharmaceuticals manufacturing as well as diagnostics and pathogens science.”
Several exhibiting Zimbabwean entities also expressed desire to secure synergies with UAE partners as well as expanding their market reach in the region and beyond.
To buttress the momentum, and coming out of the Covid-19 pandemic scare, which exposed several capacity gaps, Treasury has in the last two years also increased its health budget in line with the Abuja Declaration targets, which demands that governments set aside at least 15 percent of their budgets for health.
The interventions have enabled the country to effectively manage the Covid-19 pandemic and cushion the economy from the worst impact.
Recently, Zimbabwe has been able to increase its domestic production of personal protective equipment, sanitation and hygiene products, which it now wants to export to the export to the entire region.
Article Source: The Chronicle