CORPORATE 24 Hospital will this year invest $2 million, having been slowed down by the economic hurdles besetting the country and dysfunctional regulation in the health care sector, chief executive officer, Mike Joka has said.
BY MTHANDAZO NYONI
“This year, we are likely to invest about $2 million due to economic slowdown. However, if things improve in 2018, then we are going to invest more money. We are also looking at regional expansion, especially in countries such as South Africa, Mozambique and Zambia,” he told NewsDay.
Joka said the health care sector in Zimbabwe was poorly regulated, as demonstrated by medical aid societies, who sometimes dodge payment of claims made by service providers.
He said they were owed more than $500 000 by one medical aid society in unpaid claims since June 2015.
“This has been a major challenge to our cash flows,” Joka said.
he urged the government to look into the issue, as failure to do that would lead to massive disinvestment in the industry.
“You can’t continue investing where there is no firm regulation. In other countries claims are paid within seven days, but in Zimbabwe it is not the case,” he said.
Zimbabwe’s health industry is in intensive care mainly due to a standoff between health funders and providers of medical services over tariffs, among other contested matters.
The industry is facing a plethora of problems such as the high cost of medical services, which has excluded the majority of the people.
The war between medical aid societies and service providers has left ordinary people in a lurch.
Zimbabwe’s health costs are more than twice that of other countries in the region like South Africa and Zambia and Asian giant India.
Joka said the company was going into partnerships with Indian hospital groups, saying the country has been losing millions of dollars through “medi-tourism” annually, as people seek services outside the country’s borders.
He said these partnerships would go a long way in cutting the revenue leakages and provide people with cost-effective healthcare solutions, as the same complicated surgeries that people were going to India for would be done locally.
Corporate 24 last year invested more than $3,5 million in its Bulawayo medical centre.
However, the project is facing viability challenges, Joka said.
The 30-bed Bulawayo medical facility offers admissions as well as a delivery suite, a well-equipped intensive care unit for rapid response, resuscitation rooms, laboratory and radiological units for X-ray and ultrasound scanning, a dental unit and pharmacy.
It also houses a hi-tech modular operating theatre system, the first of its kind in Zimbabwe. The theatre is ideal for all sorts of surgery from orthopaedic to cardiac.
Corporate 24 was established in 2009.