East Africa’s medical devices market is expected to grow rapidly in coming years on the strength of progress the region has made in its health sector. And, although there remain many challenges in general, the region’s medical devices market is one of the fast-rising regions that offers unique opportunities for medical device manufacturers and suppliers.
With a population of over 480 million per the UN and an increase in awareness for healthcare services due to the rising cases of chronic diseases, the demand for medical devices in the region has increased immensely. In addition to an increase in investment in the health sector, the East Africa medical devices market is expected to grow rapidly in coming years.
Get exclusive access to the groundbreaking story of Ms. Faith Odhiambo’s historic presidency at LSK in our Latest Edition of Nairobi Law Monthly MagazineDownload Latest Edition Now For Ksh 150!
According to Mordor Intelligence, a market intelligence & advisory firm, in 2019, East Africa was responsible for 2.5% of Africa’s medical devices market which was valued at Sh551.85 billion ($3.9 billion). For the period between 2021 to 2023, the region has maintained a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.6% which is projected to continue to 2026.
The medical devices market is dominated by diagnostic imaging equipment such as X-ray and ultrasound machines. There include a number of other important medical equipment categories such as patient monitoring devices like ECG machines, surgical equipment, medical consumables and orthopaedic devices such as prosthetics. Hospital and clinics, especially those in the private sector, have been crucial to the market as they account for the largest share of medical purchases.
Kenya has been the leading economy when it comes to the uptake of medical devices. The economy has imported the most equipment as compared to her neighbours. For instance, according to Africon, Kenya imported medical equipment valued at Sh8.78 billion ($62 million) in 2018 as compared to Tanzania’s Sh5.38 billion ($38 million) and Uganda’s Sh3.68 billion ($26 million). In accordance to Fitch solutions, the CAGR for Kenya between 2021 and 2026 was 8.9% and by 2026 the market is expected to rise in value to stand at Sh28 billion.
There still remains a number of challenges in East Africa’s health sector as it has been less than a year since the East Africa Health Sector Unions’ Network (EAHSUN) raised alarm over the deteriorating state of the public healthcare system and public healthcare provision in the region.
Those looking to take advantage of the potential of the East Africa medical devices market need to be aware of the unique challenges of the region. And as the sector continues to grow, it’s crucial that more funding is allocated to the health sector in general to ensure change in its deteriorating state.