Saturday, September 1, 2012


By Masembe Tambwe,

MUHIMBILI National Hospital's (MNH) cardiac centre is expected to open its doors to the public by early September.

The Deputy Minister for Health and Social Welfare, Dr Seif Rashid, told journalists during the opening of the India Medical Tourism Destination Conference and the international exhibition, that the official launching of the centre is scheduled for December, this year.

"Preparations to begin operations are in the final stages. The installation of equipment is also being finalised, we plan to reduce the number of people seeking medical health services abroad once the centre takes off," he said.

Dr Rashid said that with the assistance of the Indian government, plans were underway to construct a state-of-the-art diagnostic centre in the heart of Dar es Salaam. The conference has brought together nearly 30 representatives of different facets in the medical sector including hospitals, centres, institutes with the aim of sharing experiences and seeking partnerships with their Tanzanian counterparts.

Dr Rashid said it was his hope that the Indian institutes partner with local investors for more modern and internationally recognised health institutions to be established in the country. The Indian High Commissioner, Mr Debnath Shaw, said that in a span of three years, over 25,000 medical visas had been issued, saying that it was a testimony of the quality of services that India hospitals provided.

"This conference provides an excellent opportunity to meet exhibitors from some of India's finest hospitals and to form networks that can prove to be very beneficial in future," he said. He said that India had recently partnered with Pan Africa e-network and that it had recently installed telemedicine facilities at the Ocean Road Cancer hospital.

The Regency Medical Centre Chairman, Dr Rajni Kanabar, said that India is currently thriving in medical tourism where it collects over 80 million US dollars annually from over 30 countries including Tanzania. Dr Kanabar explained that seeking medical services from India had two advantages; high quality services and that one spent a tenth of what one would spend in Europe or America.

"Projections are that the current growth of the health sector is 15 per cent and that come 2022, India will be reaping 309 billion US dollars each year from the sector," he said. He added that the country boasts of having many centres of excellence and that 60,000 cardiac operations are performed each year.

The Medical Association of Tanzania (MAT) Vice-President, Dr Primus Saidia, told the 'Daily News' that he considered it a shame to hear the number of people travelling to India for medical reasons. Dr Saidia said that there was need to boost investor confidence and set up these centres within the country such that these services become affordable to common Tanzanians.

"What we need from these hospitals and centres is for them to open branches here and not how many people have sought visas. It would be a lot better if these visas were translated to the number of people who were trained," he said. One of the exhibitors, Dr Ahmed Ansari of Pristine Natural Health and Research Centre said that he was open to partnerships with local investors and had plans to have presence in Tanzania.

Another exhibitor, Mr S. K. Jha of Asian Institute of Medical Sciences said he was thrilled to have been a part of the conference and that the medical professionals in the country could learn a lot from others.


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