African Medical Investments: Quality Service on Demand - Dr Vivek Solanki
African Medical Investments is a healthcare provider offering services for the continent’s developing class of entrepreneurs and businessmen. CEO Dr Vivek Solanki explains to Nigel Ash the vision behind this growing initiative.
Providing state-of the-art healthcare, African Medical Investments (AMI) is a growing company that serves the medical needs of Africa’s burgeoning professional and executive sector along with non-governmental organisations, and diplomatic and tourist markets. It owns and operates four medical facilities and has a fifth nearing completion.
‘In April we opened a 30-bed hospital in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, which has two theatres, a maternity unit, a pharmacy, emergency department and radiology lab with CT scanning,’ says AMI CEO Dr Vivek Solanki. ‘It also has a Well Woman clinic for breast cancer screening, Pap smears and osteoporosis diagnosis. In March 2010, we will open a hospital in Maputo, Mozambique, which will have the same configuration as the Tanzania facility but will also include renal dialysis facilities.’
Next spring, AMI’s 24-hour outpatient trauma centre in Harare, Zimbabwe, will be expanded to include inpatient treatment. The company also has clinics in Johannesburg and Cape Town. ‘The facilities are in the airport so our patients can fly in for treatment,’ says Solanki.
By 2011 the company will have invested some $35 million in its facilities, but its plans do not stop there, with new hospitals set to open in Kampala, Uganda, Kigali, Rwanda, and Mauritius with the likelihood of a Well Woman clinic in Nairobi, Kenya. The next stage will be a further $50 million investment in new hospitals in Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal and either Mali or the Ivory Coast. At the end of 2012 the AMI network will have 360 beds in 12 inpatient hospitals.
Solanki explains that the secret of being able to operate effectively across Africa rests in the modular approach AMI has adopted. ‘We are, if I may say it, the McDonald’s of healthcare. Everything in our operation is standardised, from the language we use, to the software, IT, paperwork and equipment. This speeds training and, thanks to our arrangements with equipment suppliers, ensures coordinated upgrades across the company.
Our logistical support for the growing portfolio of properties is organised on a regional basis but AMI maintains its own blood banks at each hospital. ‘We are leveraging technology by using telemedicine so that, for instance, radiology pictures and CT scans are analysed centrally and, if necessary, sent to India for examination by specialist consultants. We enjoy strong relationships with a number of international medical schools, including the University Teaching Hospitals in New Delhi, Italy and South Africa’
These professional links have also enabled AMI to draw top-quality, fully trained staff from teaching hospitals in central and southern Europe, South Africa and India.
AMI is positioning itself to meet the huge demand of the paying public in Africa who have traditionally flown overseas for treatment. It is also targeting international personnel in NGOs, embassies and multinational companies as well as UN forces. Agreements with UNESCO, the Japan International Cooperation Agency, UN peace keepers and local mining companies have already been concluded for the use of the Dar es Salaam hospital.
The company has also established strong links with insurers. ‘Our facilities have been accredited not only by local companies but also by international firms such as AIG International, Vanbreda, Europe Assistance, InterHealth HTH, Interglobal and Worldwide International, amongst others,’ says Solanki.
He notes that AMI is a business that has moved into an immense untapped market with a solution that is not only on a par with internationally available healthcare but which is also more convenient and cost effective.
‘Because we have a solid business plan and are rapidly proving our operating model, the revenue stream from our Dar es Salaam hospital has already exceeded expectations. We have attracted strong capital backing, including support from leading international capital firm Harbringer,’ he says.
‘It is our belief at AMI that even with a conservative occupancy prediction of between 40 and 50% within the next two years, we will be generating first-class returns by providing our customers with world-class healthcare.’