£810 / $1295 / €985
South Africa is among the top 30 most populous countries in the world with an estimated population of 50.5 million in 2011. The population is relatively young and the dire AIDS situation is having a negative impact on population growth, despite the country having one of the highest birth rates in the world at around 24 live births per thousand population.
The provision of health services is extremely patchy. The wealthier sections of society have access to highly advanced secondary and tertiary facilities, but the majority of the population has limited access to grossly inadequate services. Where facilities do exist they are often underused due to mismanagement and chronic staff shortages.
South Africa has a particularly low provision of doctors at less than one doctor (0.7) per thousand population. In 2008, of the total 34,687 doctors or medical practitioners registered with the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA), only 30.7%, or 10,653, were working in the public sector with the majority working in the private sector. This means the provision rate for doctors in the public sector is just 0.2 per thousand population.
The long term growth prospects of the South African medical device market will be strongly influenced by the ANC government’s policies in regards to the new National Health Insurance (NHI) scheme, the promotion of public-private partnerships to develop and upgrade hospitals, the serious shortage of healthcare personnel and an urgent need to effectively address the AIDS crisis in the country.
The government has committed itself to increasing the level of healthcare spending and has launched a 14-year programme to implement universal healthcare coverage.
A key driver of growth is expected to be the public-private partnerships to develop hospitals in South Africa but this could be tempered slightly, by a depreciating rand against the US dollar and the general state of the South African economy.
The medium term prospects for the medical device industry look encouraging; based on current trends, the market, of which over 90% is supplied by imports, is expected to grow at a CAGR of 8.7% from 2012-2017.
Imports reached a new record high of US$1,178.9 million in 2011, rising by 20.3% over the previous year and expanding at a CAGR of 8.1% during the 2007-2011 period. Imports fell in 2009 following poor economic conditions but bounced back with two consecutive years of growth.
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