The Ministry of Health (MoH) will pull in the private sector when it uses P1.8 billion set aside for consumptive products at public health facilities. Speaking at MoH’s performance update that was held at Lansmore Hotel in Gaborone this week Minister of Health, Dorcus Makgato, said as part of the transformation of the health sector, government is ready to use its purchasing power to promote economic diversification.
With her vast experience working with the private sector, Minister Makgato said MoH will facilitate private sector investment in health through utilisation of its purchasing power, tap into Botswana Innovation Hub and explore ways of using the Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) to nurture the health sector. “We aim to expand the outsourcing scope for both core and non-core products and expand our services for private sector consumption,” she said, adding that they will strengthen revenue collection from health financing and national health insurance.
Makgato pointed out that to fully engage in the venture, they will have to address service level agreements to ensure compliance from their suppliers. “This will facilitate private sector development,” she noted. She added that the change will also come with the reintroduction of the Coordinator of the Health Hub who will ensure overall growth in the sector. Makgato revealed that her ministry has an estimated P140 million budget reserved for the maintenance of buildings at health facilities across the country.
For his part, Leta Mosienyane of Botswana Confederation of Commerce, Industry and Manpower (BOCCIM) said the development has long been awaited by the local private sector. “Government has been neglecting its people and getting its supplies outside despite local expertise available,” he said.Mosienyane said the quality of Botswana’s private sector is evident and can be seen in the outstanding performance of private education institutions.
He pointed out that the PPP model could go a long way in enabling growth and quality services needed within the health sector. Mosienyane argued that challenges of medicine oversupply, dilapidated facilities and shortage of health facilities could all be solved through participation of the private sector.“Government has to trust that the private sector can prosper with its support,” he emphasised.
He added that all that is needed is for government to hire qualified and experienced project managers to assist with checks and balances. Mosienyane said transformation of the health sector will not only ensure growth within the sector but go a long way in creating employment and activity within the economy. “We are glad that they have come to see the light,” he said.
Meanwhile, 84 percent of Batswana have access to and live within five kilometers of health facilities. The ARV medication is currently rolled out to 99 percent of health posts across the country coupled with a roll out of Option B+ for all HIV positive pregnant women.