Health Counsellor at the Zambia High Commission in India, Victor Mukonka, says Zambia is exploring prospects of setting up a pharmaceutical manufacturing plant which will ensure availability of drugs at a reduced cost.
Speaking after having a meeting with BLK-Max Super Speciality Hospital management yesterday, Prof. Mukonka said India is a giant and very strategic partner to Zambia in Health Diplomacy.
One of the targets of the Mission in India is to ensure that Zambia taps from India’s skills and build capacity which will lead to, among others things, the establishment of Centers of Excellency to improve health care and reduce patients’ referrals abroad.
“We get most of the drugs we are using in Zambia from India. The idea is to strategically engage and explore ways on how we can work through Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) and also with Government in setting up the manufacturing industry in Zambia which can target the local market as well as the SADC region.
“That way, we will have the availability of drugs at our doorsteps and that will reduce cost as opposed to buying them directly from India. The other plan is to see how we can get experts and senior consultants from India to work with the local teams over a period of time at home.
“ This will trigger the transfer of skills as well as provide a bigger service for a lot of the common Zambians who may not manage to travel abroad for treatment,” Prof. Mukonka said.
The other focus is to link the training institutions in Zambia to India through exchange programmes and some of the joint lectures and teaching programmes for Zambian medical students, both undergraduate and postgraduate.
“We are working to formulate a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) through clearance from Government so that we see how we build up this partnership.
“ There is quite a lot that can be done for the mutual benefit of both countries. Our colleagues are keen to work with us and we have started these engagements,” he said.
And BLK-Max Super Speciality Hospital Senior Vice President Sanjay Mehta said the hospital is open to close collaboration with Zambia as the case is with other African countries and is looking forward to the formulation of an MoU with Zambia.
Dr. Mehta said his hospital is the leading private health facility in New Delhi and offers a wide range of specialised services.
The facility has been receiving patients from Zambia, most of whom have gone back to give testimonies of its high levels of professionalism and expertise.
BLK-Max Super Specialty Hospital is the largest private hospital in Delhi with a 650-bed capacity, 125 critical care beds and 17 state-of-the-art modular operation theatres.
It has 1,500 healthcare providers, 300 medical experts and is one of Asia’s largest bone marrow transplant centre with advanced Robotic Surgery Systems.