The Libyan Turkish Hospital officially opened in Misrata today. The hospital is owned by the Karanfil Group headed by Murtada Karanfil, chairperson of the (Turkish) Foreign Economic Relations Board’s (DEIK) Turkey-Libya Business Council and president of the Istanbul-based Independent Industrialists’ and Businessmen’s Association (MUSIAD).
The footprint of the hospital building covers 5,200 square metres with 120 beds. There are 15 doctors and 85 nurses and medical professionals serving 13 different speciality clinics and four operating rooms. The hospital plans to operate 24/7.
A source close to Murtaza Karanfil told Libya Herald that it is the first Libyan Turkish hospital in Libya, but not the last. The hospital will be fully equipped from Turkey and with a full complement of Turkish staff. This would be unprecedented in Libya as no other hospital is fully operated by a foreign cadre.
The source said the hospital is the prototype and if successful there are not only plans to roll it out across Libya, but across the rest of North Africa.
The Karanfil Group hope to set a new standard of excellence in the Libyan health sector providing international standard healthcare, the source explained.
Libya is the key to Turkey’s Africa policy
Speaking at today’s official hospital opening ceremony, Murtada Karanfil said ‘‘Libya is the gateway for the whole of Africa and it is the key to Turkey’s Africa policy. We are developing this (Africa policy) through the Libyan sector and this hospital is an example of this.’’
Setting a precedent for the sector?
The hospital will be watched closely both by the Libyan state, the Libyan private sector, and international potential providers of healthcare to Libya.
There have indeed been over the last decades many false starts to international companies taking over the total running of a Libyan hospital. But for varying reasons the experiments had ended prematurely without running their full course.
If the Libyan Turkish hospital model succeeds it could provide a model for others to copy and paste. Turkey has yet again used its special relationship with Libya in general, and with Misrata in particular, to take the first movers’ advantage. However, the Libyan health sector is no short of a disaster. There is plenty of room for other competitors to enter the market. Healthy competition will hopefully improve the sector in general.
Libya spends hundreds of millions on healthcare abroad
The Libyan state spends hundreds of millions every year on health treatment abroad and Libyan individuals spend probably an equal amount on foreign healthcare from personal savings in Tunisia, Turkey, Jordan, and other countries.
The Libyan Turkish Hospital could help in the Libyan government’s policy to localise health treatment, saving the state and citizens hundreds of millions as well as the inconvenience of travel abroad.