India to ease access to medical visas for Ugandans

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The second secretary high commissioner of Uganda, Pankaj Singhal, said they also want patients to be able to access visas online.

PIC: Medecube Healthcare founder (left) Dr Dilpreet Brar speaks to the second secretary Indian High Commissioner to Uganda (right) Pankaj Singhal during the launch of the Medecube healthcare in Uganda on March 13, 2018. (Credit: Nicholas Oneal)

HEALTH

KAMPALA – Many Ugandans consider traveling abroad, especially to India for specialised treatment due to lack the necessary facilities in the local health facilities. However, some patients die before boarding the plane due to lack funds and the long procedure of accessing travel documents.

But to address the problem, the Indian High Commission says they are going to ease the tourism medical visas to simplify the travel of Ugandan patients, who want to go for specialised treatment to India.

The second secretary high commissioner of Uganda, Pankaj Singhal, said they also want patients to be able to access visas online.

“We realised many Ugandans go to India for specialised treatment, especially for surgeries, but the process of getting visas takes long and, at times, people die before going. We are discussing with our government on how to improve this process for the patients,” he said.

Singhal disclosed this while launching Medecube Healthcare service in Uganda at Silver Springs Hotel in Kampala on Sunday.

Medecure is an Indian healthcare company, which provides healthcare co-ordination and customised solutions for individuals and institutions globally.

According to Statistics from the Ministry of Health, about ($7m) sh25b was the bill for the treatment of both public and private citizens abroad for the three years (2016, 2015 and 2014).

The Auditor General’s Report, 2016 reveals that the Government spent at least sh10.08b ($2.8m) on the treatment of 140 senior government officials in the three years, with exclusion of air tickets, upkeep and expenditure on attendants.

The 140 officials, according to the report, received specialised treatment for heart and kidney conditions, eye problems, cancer and diabetes in hospitals in India, South Africa, China, US and Kenya.

Singhal said the cost can reduce with the help of the new approach.

“The new system of Medecube, will be helping patients get visas, access better health facilities and physicians, get better accommodation and handle their travels at pocket-friendly prices. This company will be doing these services for free,” Singhal said.

He noted that they are already doing a study to identify the required medical facilities to be established in the country to easily handle some of the complex cases locally so that patients do not have to travel abroad.

Dr Dilpreet Brar, the founder and chief executive officer Medecube, said they are also going to take about 20 selected Uganda physicians, for specialised training in India to gain more skills so that they can provide post-treatment care of patients from India.

Medecube works in 19 countries globally, including Rwanda, Zambia, Kenya and Uganda in Africa. They work in partnership with 18 hospitals in India and 170 health facilities globally.

Dr Ajit Singh, a partner at Artiman Ventures the funders of Medecube, said the company offers pre-travel services, services during the patient’s stay in India and gives advice or support as they return to normal life back home.

Singh said they will also be managing the post-treatment services of patients in partnership with the local physicians.

The country head, Shamim Asiimwe, said she had hopes that the new service would help to provide better healthcare services to Ugandans.

NewVision.co.ug

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