The construction of a P2.2 billion Teaching Hospital at the University of Botswana (UB) is done within the concept of positioning Botswana to be able to provide medical facilities to others, said Minister of Health Dorcus Makgato. Government is constructing a 450-bed training hospital at UB; Makgato revealed this week that she has commissioned a Task Force that is looking at streaming.
“What is Princess Marina going to become? Should it become a District Hospital? Should it remain as the referral hospital with various specialisations that we do not have? There has to be a good relationship between this hospital and the rest of the hospitals that we have,” she said adding “that is work in progress that we are doing. So, we were both futuristic as well as strategic in looking at it. We were not looking at it as business as usual. We have done benchmarking, and I am left with probably a couple of trips to South Africa so that I can balance what I see in Europe and come back to see what those that are next to me are doing. I will be doing that in the New Year”.
The teaching hospital is under the Faculty of Health Sciences at UB which also consists of the School of Allied Health Professions, Public Health and Medicine. Government announced during President Ian Khama’s State of the Nation Address in 2012 that from February 2014 the Faculty would be supported by the new teaching hospital.
The Minister explained that she does not see the revenue for the hospital just coming from government. “I see the bulk of the revenue coming out of the private sector,” she said, adding “I see this model working within that context of universal access. Therefore, it cannot just be a government P5 that we pay. We certainly have to be able to refinance it from the money that would come out of the private sector. We would have to have the necessary infrastructure to be able to collect the revenue to do so.”
Makgato who was addressing Parliament about the hospital, which is near completion, expressed hope that should things go according to plan the hospital will probably open beginning of 2017. “But what I can tell you is that we have apportioned about P537 million as a start for certain things that would be done next year.
“We are not going to be spending all that money and so far it has been accommodated.” The minister explained that when she joined the Ministry a year ago, they had a Committee comprising of the Ministry of Health, Secretary at the Ministry of Education and Skills Development and the UB. “My view was very simple, and was that we have been given the responsibility and I told UB that they had to commission this as they have been given P2 billion. Now the building is almost through. We have agreed that the Ministry of Health must take charge of the hospital aspect of it. So, we are going to be driving that project”.
She stated that the money that was allocated to UB was to build, provide the necessary construction and furniture among other things. The minister said the last time she checked about half a billion Pula or so is still remaining that “We are going to use to be able to equip and so forth.
That is not going to be run like Princess Marina because it is certainly different on the basis of the size of this investment. I am working within what is manageable and the facilities that I have concern me. I do not have sufficient manpower in terms of doctors. I do not want to create a problem of having a migration from all the current hospitals all going to this highly specialised hospital. So, there is a lot that we are going to do.”