*Although a private hospital, SKMTH not for profit making

Sir Ketumile Masire Teaching Hospital (SKMTH) which has been licensed to operate as a private hospital is expected to help address health care challenges in the country when fully operational.

Among the challenges, are rising levels of non-communicable diseases, shortage of healthcare personnel especially doctors and allied health professionals, retention of healthcare providers, and the rising cost of healthcare, which is exacerbated by referral of patients to private facilities both locally and externally.

Addressing the media this week, Commissioning Manager, Dr. Ishmael Makone said the hospital will have a workforce of more than 1000 employees at full capacity.

The state-of-the-art facility that is wholly owned by the government is the first quaternary hospital in Botswana and will operate at the apex of Botswana’s public health system.

Dr. Makone said although a private hospital, SKMTH is not for profit making but will run under commercially-driven principles.

The first service to be opened is the Radiology Department which would open its doors for service on September 1. The Radiology Department will provide medical imaging services for diagnostic and therapeutic purposes for all inpatients and outpatients.

According to Dr. Makone, services to be available include general radiography, ultrasound, computer tomography (CT) scan, fluoroscopy, mammography, and angiography, among others, with all medical examinations including for first-time employment.

He assured members of the public that the Department would provide accurate results delivered straight to physicians as soon as possible, with shorter waiting periods, and flexible appointment times among others.

“The next suite of Phase 1 services will be provided in the last quarter of 2022 with Radiation Oncology billed for the first quarter of 2023,” he said, adding that some of the services include, Intensive Care Services, Renal services, Laboratory, Radiation Oncology and Pharmacy among others.

He explained that the introduction of other phases would take at least five years to successfully achieve, with the final phase being the refinement of certain services into centres of excellence.

These include comprehensive cancer care, critical care for adults, paediatrics and neonatal, trauma and burns, renal and organ transplant, cardiovascular and ophthalmology.

According to Dr. Makone, the 450-bed hospital was conceptualised as far back as the 1980s following recommendations from the presidential task force of 1989 comprising of the then Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education, and the University of Botswana.

The task force was to convene to address the issues of the shortage of healthcare professionals in Botswana and to recommend remedial measures. “This resulted in the construction of the facility which started in 2010 and was completed in 2014,” he said.

The Hospital that covers an area of 89000m2 was initially called Academic Teaching Hospital and later Botswana University Hospital, and in 2018 renamed Sir Ketumile Masire Teaching Hospital after Botswana’s second president.

Dr. Makone explained that the private-cooperative model of operation with the University of Botswana positions the facility as a standard benchmark of academic excellence, research, and medical education in the region and beyond, as well as contributes significantly to human capital development and economic diversification.

“The model of operation was identified following extensive consultation with various experts in the health field, desktop reviews as well as benchmarking exercises in the region and internationally,” Dr. Makone said.