Doctor builds township healthcare

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Medical doctor Zamokuhle Ngozo has established Touch of Life which is a property company that provides rental space to medical practitioners in the townships in the  Mpumalanga Highveld. Photo: Lucas Ledwaba/Mukurukuru Media
Medical doctor Zamokuhle Ngozo has established Touch of Life which is a property company that provides rental space to medical practitioners in the townships in the Mpumalanga Highveld. Photo: Lucas Ledwaba/Mukurukuru Media

When Medical doctor Zamokuhle Ngozo learnt there was a house being sold in Mhluzi near Middleburg he seized the opportunity to turn his dream of establishing a medical centre in a township into reality.

He had learnt the hard way about the difficulties medical practitioners face in townships when he went into private practice in 2011. He qualified in 2008 as an ear, nose and throat specialist, but found himself faced with the grim reality of paying high monthly rentals in a building that was not properly maintained.

He then moved to Mhluzi township, raising the R8 000 required to purchase the equipment and medicine at the practice of his late colleague and moved in as a tenant. This was a short-term solution for him, and after purchasing the house in Mhluzi, he soon got to work, transforming it into a medical centre that would house practitioners from different disciplines.

“The whole idea was to get an income from the practice and from the rental,” says Ngozo. He called the medical centre Touch of Life, after a gravely ill patient he saw remarked that his touch had healed him. 

Ngozo realised that his qualification as a doctor was not enough to set him up on the path of managing a business, so he enrolled for a Master of Business Administration qualification at the Unisa School of Business Leadership.

“Most doctors can’t even read a financial statement. Medicine on its own does not have a module that teaches us how to run a business. We make a lot of mistakes on the business side of things.” He knew he wanted to study medicine from a boy, and watching his father struggle with the effects of diabetes, going in and out of hospital until he eventually passed away, made him more sure.

“If things were done well then, maybe my father could have lived longer.” In 2019, Ngozo purchased another house in Siyathuthuka township near Emakhazeni, also in Mpumalanga.

“The building was a mess, but the first time I walked into that place I knew it was going to be a successful medical centre,” he says.Ngozo bought the building for R350 000 and spent another R160 000 on renovations.

The centre now houses a pharmacy, dentist, occupational nurse, and general practitioner. At present he employs 16 full-time employees who include cleaning and administrative staff and nurses and he plans to expand to create accessible health care services to more people in townships.

Touch of Life also has a theatre where surgical medical circumcision procedures are conducted free of charge to local youth and men in partnership with Right to Care, a private health care organisation which provides services in the fight against HIV/Aids and they have developed an outpatient programme for substance abusers. 

The support for small businesses in South Africa remains MTN Business’s priority. Small businesses are key to unlocking economic opportunities and achieving inclusive growth, the more support they receive, the more people they can employ, and the more successful our country becomes. 

The introduction of  MTN’s Made for Skhokho flexible package could help tenants stay connected and ensure they reach people through the use social media and inform the public about the various professional services available in the medical centre.

To register for MTN Skokoho click here

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