Let us explore how you can start a medical lab business in Zimbabwe. Probably not many people ever think of starting this business because of its technical nature. However, it is a potentially lucrative business especially if your niche well. There is a demand for medical lab services in so many industries. You can also diversify to other lab services that are not necessarily medical in nature. So the business is potentially lucrative and has vast room for diversification and expansion.
The healthcare industry continues to experience marked growth globally. The kinds of lab tests that have to be conducted in healthcare are so many. As much as be an all-in-one would be a perfect fit for business it is not a good idea here. Actually, it is virtually impossible and obviously too expensive to set up a medical lab that does all types of tests. You will have to do your homework and figure which tests you want to cater for. As is always the case you must niche so that you solely focus on a certain number and types of tests.
Essentially the thrust is to identify a gap that you can fill. There could be certain services that are not being adequately delivered and you can come in to provide better service. So you can just do what other labs are doing but in a much better way. The use of cutting edge technology can help you deliver superior quality services. You can also capitalize on emerging trends; for instance, COVID-19 tests have become a sought services nowadays. Overall, you can take advantage of widespread research initiatives that would require medical lab test services.
In Zimbabwe, your focus can be on lab tests regarding common diseases such as HIV/AIDS, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and routine blood tests that may be necessary for medical doctors to make diagnoses of patients. It is commonplace to find healthcare centres outsourcing such tests from standalone medical labs. You can literally enter working agreements where healthcare centres send all their samples requiring lab tests to you.
The type of facilities you will need varies depending on what you want to niche on. You definitely need a building big enough to have a back and front-end office, the lab tests areas, storage and what nought. There will be a need for specialized features in the building from basic things like air conditioning to things like airtight chambers and the like. Personal protective equipment (PPE) will also be needed plus specialized chemicals such as fumigants, disinfectants and the like. There will also be a need for lab tests chemicals and instruments for carrying out the tests. Specialized storage equipment or machinery will also be required.
All in all, there are quite a number of both basic and specialized components necessary for putting up a medical lab facility. Let me just briefly highlight that there are different types of lab designs. For a medical lab, you will most likely use a wet lab design approach. Basically wet labs are labs that deal with or use liquid chemicals. Thus in putting together a medical lab you would need to consider what wet labs usually need. For example, wet labs need working surfaces that are resistant to chemicals and they must have wet sinks (which should not have the same drainage framework as the general one). In principle, you must fully acquaint yourself with wet-lab designs and what they must have.
There is a whole range of different types of workers a medical lab would need. The actual lab tests would need qualified staff; individuals who have studied disciplines such as Lab Sciences or other related fields. Then, of course, you will need other types of staff specially trained for their respective areas of focus. Thus you must be prepared to employ a significant number of qualified staff.
Significant capital investment is needed to start this business. The facility itself requires so many specialized features and work. The chemicals and equipment needed for the lab tests tend to be costly because it mainly has to be imported. Entering into partnerships or looking for government grants or investors will definitely come in handy.
You have to conduct thorough market research so that you land clients once operational. The market is there but highly segmented. In some cases penetrating a market, the segment might entail out-competing already operational medical labs. So the basic idea is to figure out how to offer services that are superior or in a superior way.
Important Things To Consider
Adhering to regulatory frameworks is of critical importance in this line of business. There is serious regulation when it comes to a medical lab business. It is not surprising to find a medical lab having to satisfy the regulatory requirements of several regulatory bodies. Insurance is also another pertinent element that a medical lab must-have. Standard operating procedures (SOPs) are a key aspect of a medical lab. There must be structured and highly monitored SOPs in the day to day running of a medical lab. Pristine quality control procedures should be in place to ensure tests are done in sterile environments.
This is an interesting business worth exploring. I have noticed that virtually all medical labs are found in urban settings. Locating a medical lab in a peri-urban setting can be strategic to serving peri-urban and also rural demographics. That can bring convenience to clients that have to travel far to outsource medical lab services. This is just a thought that just came to my mind on how you can think differently. It seems intimidating to start a medical lab business but it is well worth a shot.