Indian doctors visit Lesotho
A TEAM of doctors from Apollo Hospital, in India visited the country this week to assist the government in its fight against non-communicable diseases like cancer and kidney ailments.
Apollo Hospital is India’s leading specialist hospital with more than 5000 doctors that offer the best modern healthcare.
The team focused on the improvement of cancer and renal services whose unavailability has compromised the health of Basotho.
The Ministry of Health’s Director General, Nyane Letsie, told the Lesotho Times that the doctors will now periodically help Lesotho with cancer and renal services which are not available at the national referral hospital, the Queen Mamohato Memorial Hospital (QMMH).
“The doctors visited our government hospitals where they looked into our structures and identified patients that will need to be flown to India for cancer and renal treatment,” Dr Letsie said.
He said when the patients fly to India, they would also identify doctors who will accompany them and enroll into an internship programme so that they would be able to share the skills they acquire on their return.
“We realised that it was high time that we prioritised cancer as we have lost many lives. What is worrying is that patients who book for treatment in Bloemfontein are made to wait for months before being taken in as the hospital prioritises South Africans.
“Cancer is unforgiving and does not give one time to wait for admission. It continues to spread and some people do not even make it for their treatment so this partnership with the Apollo Hospital will come in handy as we will now start to take our cancer patients to India,” he said.
Dr Letsie said there are over 100 people who are waiting to be taken for cancer treatment in Bloemfontein and they would choose some from the list that would be taken to India.
He said taking patients to India would also be significantly cheaper than South Africa.
“A kidney transplant costs around M200 000 in India including all the packages while the prices in Bloemfontein it ranges from M750 000 to M800 000. Even if we include the flight ticket to India for the patient it would cost around M20 000 so we would have save a lot of money,” he said.
Dr Letsie said the partnership would help to strengthen the capacity and infrastructure of local health facilities. He added that they would carry out training for health care professionals for at least three or four years before the country is able to treat cancer on its own.