US firms to set up US$100m health facility

01 Mar, 2020 - 00:03 0 Views

The Sunday Mail

Sharon Munjenjema

Zimbabwe has secured a US$100 million investment for the construction of a Health Galaxy Park in the proposed new capital — Mt Hampden — that will facilitate medical research and improve the country’s health care services.

The project is being sponsored by a group of American businesses.

The park will house medical technology, skills coordination centres and a pharmaceutical innovation hub.

It will be the second major infrastructure project in the area, where a new modern Parliament building is being constructed, as the new city takes shape.

The Health Galaxy Park was born out of an academic cooperation in research, between technocrats from the University of Zimbabwe and the State University of New York.

Through the American university, Zimbabwean technocrats led by local scientist Professor Charles Maponga courted 25 US firms in the health sector to invest in Zimbabwe.

A team of the businesspeople subsequently visited the country for negotiations with Government officials in April last year.

The New York-headquartered Applied Sciences Group Inc is now on the brink of releasing US$100 million to kick-start the initial phase of the medical project.

Some of the American firms in the deal include Stanley Brothers Biotech, Waters Corp, Cancer Institute and Diabetic Relief, which are big pharmaceuticals, medical equipment and research firms.

In a telephone interview with The Sunday Mail, Professor Gene Morse, a technocrat from the State University of New York at Buffalo — who is the focal person of the project in New York — said massive development in Zimbabwe should be anticipated from the venture.

“The Centre for Integrated Global Biomedical Sciences of the University at Buffalo has a development collaboration with ASG (Applied Sciences Group) and our plan is to link (State University of New York at) Buffalo with Health Galaxy Park to capacitate infrastructure and research development there,” he said.

Zimbabwe Investment and Development Authority (ZIDA)’s One-Stop Investment Service Centre interim chairperson Dr Washington Mbizvo confirmed the deal.

“We are pleased to advise that His Excellency (President Mnangagwa) has approved this project, but more importantly, the team is headed by Professor Charles Maponga, who is well-known in technology and applied sciences, having introduced nanotechnology in this country.

“The next logical stage is that Ministry of Health (and Child Care) has to look for land — that will now trigger the implementation because the investors want to move right now.”

Dr Mbizvo said the project would rebuild national health care as well as improve biomedical research infrastructure.

“This is a massive project expected to be on 50 hectares of land in the new city (New Hampden). It encompasses the establishment of an infrastructure technology and skills coordination centre, a pharmaceutical innovation hub and a specialised hospital (in the long run),” he added.

“We interfaced with the investors when they came to Zimbabwe. They are highly qualified professors who are very keen to invest in the health delivery system.”

The Sunday Mail has established that Government’s contribution to the first phase of the project, which is a partnership, is land, valued at US$25 million.

Once the first phase of the project takes off, a second phase, where the 25 United States firms will avail US$2 billion for the construction of a specialised hospital, would also begin.

Professor Maponga, who is lecturer at the University of Zimbabwe’s Department of Pharmacy, said the project was conceived with a view to increasing health sector investments in Zimbabwe.

“We want to promote investor-driven health care to transform Zimbabwe’s health sector because right now it is donor-driven.

‘‘We want to lure those development partners and donor nations to come in as investors and we are taking advantage of the enactment of ZIDA.

“The job of Health Galaxy Park is to attract more investors. Visual activity of this project should be seen within a year.

‘‘There are plans to devolve the concept to other provinces going forward,” he said.

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