By Modupe Gbadeyanka
Last week, over 125 healthcare professionals and logistics experts converged at the DHL 6th annual Regional Life Sciences and Healthcare conference held in Pretoria, South Africa, to discuss on the topic ‘Delivering Healthcare to Africa’.
At the event, it was noted by Vice President EMEA, DHL Life Sciences & Healthcare, Mr Thomas Ellmann that Africa has positive growth potential in the healthcare sector, but needed continuous investment in capabilities, quality and innovation to operate successfully across the continent.
Africa is considered the final frontier in delivery of healthcare services and there are a number of service delivery challenges to be overcome.
According to Mr Ellmann, companies in the sector have quality and process standards high on their list of requirements, in addition to visibility and control throughout the supply chain, from the point of manufacture to the end customer. Temperature control, Good Distribution Practice, trade compliance and regulations, and innovation are all key to success when it comes to the supply chain.
He also said, “We wanted to address the requirements of the life sciences and health care industry at the conference with leading companies and experts in the sector, and discuss how the industry can adopt the best supply chain strategies to capitalize on Africa’s growth potential.”
Also, Deloitte observed that the Sub-Saharan region as a whole is on a positive growth trend although growth rates vary considerably from as low as 1.52% in South Africa to as high as 9.94% in Ethiopia.
Growth in healthcare spend across Africa is forecasted at around 3 percent until 2020, with the top 15 countries with the exception of Gabon currently spending over US$ 1 billion per annum on health.
In his opinion, Mr Hennie Heymans, CEO of DHL Express Sub Saharan Africa (SSA) adds, “We have been in Africa for 38 years and have established ourselves as the market leaders. Africa is home to one of the fastest growing middle classes and access to healthcare products and services is critical.
“DHL Express is perfectly positioned to support healthcare supply chains in Africa – a market where we continue to see enormous potential and opportunity. Over the past two years we have equipped 16 countries in SSA to handle dangerous goods, enabling the movement of temperature-controlled consignments throughout our network.
“An additional seven countries are planned for DG-certification in 2017. We have also set up Express Logistics Centres and capabilities in 21 countries across SSA providing the ideal locations for short-term stock holding and the distribution of medical device and diagnostics equipment, electronics and spare parts, with further investment envisioned in this area.”
As the leading logistics provider for the life sciences and healthcare industry, DHL serves customers globally and provides industry-leading capabilities, including time-definite international (TDI) express network covering 220 countries and territories, life sciences-qualified DHL Medical Express services in over 70 countries that enable global access to healthcare through continuous investments in skills, scale and solutions that adapt to ever-changing needs.
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