Ankara, Friday, March 2, 2018-A high-level Ministry of Health delegation of technocrats has arrived in Ankara to attend the Turkey Health Sector Business Conference and engage high profile Turkish manufacturers of medical devices and diagnostic equipment to explore possibilities of setting up manufacturing plants in Zambia.
Speaking on the sidelines of the conference, Ministry of Health Director Policy and Planning Maximillian Bweupe, whose delegation is representing Minister of Health Hon. Dr Chitalu Chilufya, said Government is keen to leverage the conference to see how the country can tap into the US$30 billion African market for medical tourism.
“So it is a major opportunity for us and we are looking at the potential US$30 billion industry for the whole of Africa and for Zambia we are very keen to partner with Turkey to see how much of that we are able to capture on behalf of the country both in saving costs and also harnessing for ourselves medical tourism in Zambia,” he said.
Dr Bweupe, who is the spokesperson for the Ministry, said the area of interest for Zambia is to explore opportunities on how the country could harness Turkey’s potential in advanced medical technologies, technology transfer, potential of local assembly of medical devices, specialized medical education, health financing and focus on maternal, newborn and child health.
“We are engaging and looking at how we can leverage the opportunities, which are being availed here, we have high profile private sector players and public sector players who are willing to share ideas with us on highly advanced medical technologies including Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), Computerised Tomography (CT) scans, prosthetics and diagnostics,” Dr Bweupe said.
He said the Ministry of Health was determined to engage the Turkish manufactures of medical equipment and service providers to set up assembly plants in Zambia/
This, Dr Bweupe, said would save the country money in terms of equipment and minimize expenses incurred on medical tourism.
“We are looking at how all these can be put together, the various modalities of financing that can be employed.
We also take an opportunity to engage the Chambers of Commerce and Industry to see how the public and private sector can be explored on this,” Dr Bweupe said.
And Chargé d’ Affaires of Zambia in Turkey, Bwalya Nondo, said the establishment of a medical equipment manufacturing plant in Zambia would enable the country save money used on the importation of equipment and sending patients abroad due to lack of diagnostic equipment.
Mr Nondo said Zambia has available skills in terms of medical expertise but it becomes difficult for medical personnel to make certain diagnosis without proper equipment.
Others in the delegation are Director Training and Development Professor Sekelani Banda, Director Health Care Financing Dr Anita Kaluba and Dr Angel Mwiche who is Assistant Director Reproductive Maternal Newborn Child Health.