More Indian hospitals have committed to helping Zambia build capacity among local doctors to start conducting transplants locally, with Fortis Memorial Hospital now offering to send experts to Zambia as part of skills transfer.
These transplants will include bone marrow, kidney, and other organs to cater for patients with sickle cell disease, kidney failures, and cancers.
Speaking yesterday when Counsellor (Health) at the Zambia High Commission to India Prof. Victor Mukonka visited Zambian patients at Fortis Memorial Hospital, Principal Director- Pediatric Hematology Oncology and Bone Marrow Transplant (BMT) Vikas Dua, said his team is ready to help Zambia start offering these medical services locally.
Dr. Dua has offered himself to be part of the team that will travel to Zambia to work with the local doctors before the Zambian team can travel to India for more operations and that once that is done, the number of patients being evacuated to India for medical tourism will reduce.
“If we start bone marrow transplants in Zambia, it would be good for the country as it will also become a place for medical tourism. We will be more than happy to help your doctors in terms of capacity building by bringing our experts to your country.
“In the initial part, I will come so that we can start the transplant process and then your doctors can manage the patients on their own. We can also invite your doctors to India to have a feel of how transplants are done here,” Dr. Dua said.
He said Zambian doctors are qualified to conduct such operations and that they only need to sharpen their skills.
“They know haematology and so if they come here and spend some time with us and learn, when they go back, they can screen the patients and conduct transplants,” he said.
And Prof. Mukonka thanked Fortis Memorial Hospital for the gesture saying Government’s skills strategy is to ensure that more doctors have hands-on experience in modern and high technology medicine.
He said Zambia is looking to institutions like Fortis for support until it is able to stand on its own and that with the current political will to turn things around, he is hopeful that such engagements will lead to fruitful outcomes.
“I am always in touch with our Minister of Health and my colleagues from the technical team and I can confirm to you that we are determined to create Centres of Excellence in Zambia but we will count on you. We need a lot of support until we are able to stand on our own,” Prof. Mukonka said.
Last month, Government sponsored a team of six doctors to India to accompany patients who needed kidney transplant and worked with experts at KIMS Hospital in conducting such operations for two weeks.
This is contained in a statement issued by Bennie Mundando First Secretary (Press) Zambia High Commission – India.