Indian High Commissioner Shri Gopalakrishnan says his government plans to build a modern specialist hospital in Malawi through a private public partnership (PPP) arrangement to treat medical referrals locally.
Speaking during a seminar on India-Malawi Relations on Perspective on Indian Diaspora in Malawi at Amaryllis Hotel in Blantyre on Friday evening, the envoy said the Indian Embassy in Lilongwe issues out an average of 1 000 medical visas to India annually, mostly for patients and their guardians.
Gopalakrishnan: Specialist hospitals will reduce referrals costs
Gopalakrishnan said a modern specialist hospital will, therefore, reduce medical referrals costs which the Malawi Government estimates at over K2 billion per year and drains a lot of foreign exchange
He said: “India has been willing to assist Malawi in setting up the hospitals and we have also received various interests from medical practitioners to set up medical facilities in Malawi.
“The delay [to set up the hospital] has been some kind of reluctance from the Government of Malawi to allow investors to come and set up the facility. But government has its policy. Soon, Malawi will have an Indian hospital or hospital set up by India and run by Malawians.”
The diplomat indicated that the Government of India has been closely partnering with the Government of Malawi in achieving its development goals by supporting a number of development projects in Malawi.
Gopalakrishnan said since 2008, India has extended lines of credit (LoCs) worth $395.6 million (about K467 billion) to Malawi for various infrastructure development projects.
He cited projects worth $180 million (about K212 billion), including Salima Sugar Factory, National Oil Company of Malawi 60 million litre-capacity fuel storage facilities in Blantyre, Lilongwe and Mzuzu, Cotton Ginneries in Ngabu in Chikwawa, Ngara in Karonga and Balaka, Dhal processing plants in Liwonde, Machinga and Luchenza in Thyolo and Likhubula Water Supply Project for Blantyre Water Board (BWB) as some that have been, so far, completed.
On the other hand, the $215.68 million (about K255 billion) water projects under BWB and Southern Region Water Board are under implementation.
In the last three years alone, India has also provided Malawi with essential medicines worth $5 million (about K8 billion), 10 ambulances and 50 000 doses of Covid vaccines.
Speaking on the role of Indian Diaspora in strengthening Malawi’s democratic governance, Malawi School of Government head of Blantyre campus Mavuto Bamusi said while there are positives from the Indian Diapsora to the economy, there was a perception that the Indian community does not do more in terms of integrating with indigenous local communities.
“Therefore, it is my submission that Malawi needs an increase in the number of people from the Asian community in politics,” he said.
India established diplomatic ties with Malawi in 1964 when the country attained independence from Britain. India reopened its resident mission in Lilongwe, Malawi in March 2012 after closing it in May 1993.