DHL's 6th annual Regional Life Sciences & Healthcare conference in Pretoria, South Africa saw over 125 healthcare professionals and logistics experts come together to discuss 'Delivering Healthcare to Africa.
According to Deloitte, 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.
Africa has positive growth potential in the healthcare sector, but continuous investment in capabilities, quality and innovation are needed to operate successfully across the continent, noted Thomas Ellmann, vice president EMEA, DHL Life Sciences & Healthcare in his opening speech.
Challenges and requirements
Africa is considered the final frontier in the delivery of healthcare services and there are a number of service delivery challenges to be overcome. According to 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. “We wanted to address the requirements of the life sciences and healthcare 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 capitalise on Africa’s growth potential,” says Ellmann.
Supporting healthcare supply chains
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 Centers 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.”
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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