Mukudzei Chingwere-Herald Reporter
Many more investments in the Parirenyatwa Hospital Group could be possible after United Arab Emirates (UAE) billionaire Mr. Shaji Ul Mulk visited the main public sector hospital yesterday and raised the idea of a private investment in laboratory facilities, radiology equipment and pharmacy service.
The UAE tycoon has already pledged to invest $500 million in the Zim Cyber City it is building in Mt Hampden, where a groundbreaking ceremony was held this week led by President Mnangagwa .
Investments in these key areas of health service delivery are in line with the government’s vision to achieve international best practice in the sector, while leaving no one behind.
The Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals is a government facility with a fee structure favorable even to low income people and vulnerable people can access the facility’s care free of charge with their costs covered by the Department of Social Welfare.
Mulk’s investment proposal comes at a time when the government is struggling to attract investment and is also trying to revamp the medical consumables industry.
This latest interest in Zimbabwe is further confirmation that global investor giants are noticing Zimbabwe’s appeal as an investment destination.
“We run a chain of diagnostic centers and laboratories in Dubai,” Mulk said. “We had a good discussion with the president and vice president to bring that expertise here. So we look forward to doing that.
“Diagnostic centers and laboratories are not restricted to one hospital. We review every hospital in the country. I see that Zimbabwe has very strong medical expertise. Whenever possible, we will work with them. We are waiting for the report now. Once we receive the report, we will decide,” Mulk said.
Mr Mulk has publicly stated that Zimbabwe is on the cusp of industrialization and development which could see the influx of international capital and that it is here to be ahead of the competition.
The billionaire presides over a diverse club of wealthy businessmen with members from the United States of America, Europe, India among other countries and was here to seek opportunities.
Mr Mulk and his colleagues were drawn to the compelling investment case presented by President Mnangagwa when he visited the UAE last month for Expo Dubai 2020.
The Chief Director of Curative Services at the Ministry of Health and Child Care, Dr Maxwell Hove reiterated President Mnangagwa’s call that Zimbabwe is open for business and that health sector players are also willing to cooperate with the world.
A report is being prepared outlining gaps open to investment, and global partners will see areas of interest.
“They come here to see the kind of areas that they might be interested in investing in, and for this team they’re very interested in diagnostics, which is the radiology department which is imaging and also in labs, especially biochemistry fields, they are also looking at fields related to telemedicine and that kind of field,” Dr. Hove said.
“We are therefore open to engaging a great deal of their expertise and also to see if they are ready to help in the areas of the renovation of the infrastructures of some of our institutions.
Zimbabwe could soon be a drug manufacturing hub for national and regional consumption following the conclusion this week of a joint venture agreement between global medical consumables manufacturing giant Intrapharma, also of the United Arab Emirates, and the government.
The UAE-based medical consumables maker comes at a time when the government is scrambling to attract investment and is also trying to revamp the medical consumables industry, and Intrapharma will start by injecting an initial amount of $100 million in the project.