Taking Indo-African bilateral relations to the next level, Indian healthcare major Apollo Hospitals and the Tanzanian health ministry today signed the African nation’s first memorandum of understanding (MoU) for public private partnership (PPP) in the health sector.
According to the agreement, Apollo Hospitals would provide expertise and machinery for a 350-bed super speciality hospital in the Milimani city of Dar es Salaam, while the Tanzanian government would provide the land and bear the construction costs, Blandina S J Nyoni, Tanzania's health secretary, told Business Standard.
The MoU was signed in the presence of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Tanzanian President Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete today, at the end of the first Indo-Tanzania bilateral summit on Tanzanian soil.
Apollo Hospitals Chairman, Prathap C Reddy, who flew down to the port city to sign the agreement, told Business Standard, “The Tanzanian government is giving a lot of importance to the health sector. This is a key area, not just in Africa, but also in other parts of the world. We would be happy to expand our presence in Africa.” The total expenditure for the Apollo Hospitals project is estimated at $60 million.
China is currently building a heart institute in the National Hospital in Tanzania, with a grant of $63 million, while South Korea is helping in setting up a medical college in the country. “We chose to do it ( Milimani's super-speciality hospital) with India, since we have a long-term relation with India,” said Blandina S J Nyoni.
President Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete said the project would help Tanzania in capacity building and reduce its expenditure on sending patients for treatment abroad.
“Currently, we spend $8 million every year to send our citizens abroad for treatment. Now, we are trying to build local capacities”, he said. However, he also mentioned China’s “generous” help in building the 200-bed heart wing in National Hospital.
Bangalore based Vigyan Education Foundation had set up the first private medical and technological university in Tanzania. The university was also the first private university in Tanzania.
For Apollo Hospitals, this would be its first hospital in Africa. “We have helped in some other ways in the healthcare sector, but this is the first time we would be running a hospital,” Reddy told Business Standard.
President Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, in his speech, said he expected five more such hospitals to be set up by Apollo in various parts of the country, including Zanzibar.
Private companies are not allowed to own land in Tanzania. The land where the hospital would be built belongs to the University of Tanzania.
The hospital would be run by Apollo Hospitals, which would also train local doctors and medical staff. “We had sent 29 doctors in India for training. They have come back and now, open-heart surgeries are happening in our country,” said President Kikwete.
Health Secretary Nyoni said, “The hospital can be expanded to 600 beds. A total of 60 per cent of our patients go to India. This institute would considerably reduce that traffic. We have upgraded 20 hospitals with the help of foreign players. But this is a very different kind of a joint venture.”
Apollo Hospitals Group accounts for over 8,500 beds, across 54 hospitals, both within and outside India.