Insights and Opportunities
Overview: The medical equipment market in Kenya is totally reliant on imports. The estimated market demand in Kenya for electro-medical equipment in 2005 was only $35 million, with imports from the U.S. accounting for some $3.7 million. However, 2006 estimates include unprecedented Government of Kenya procurement of medical equipment over several years worth approximately $100 million, representing the beginning of a re-equipping strategy for public hospitals. Major suppliers include Germany, the Netherlands, the U.K, India, Italy, and China. The electro-medical equipment sub-sector is expected to grow from its current base by at least 10% annually over the next three years.
Best Products/Services: CT scanners; Ultrasound units; X-ray equipment; Angiography; Endoscopy; Biochemistry; Hematology; and Immunology systems.
Opportunities: The U.S. is in an excellent position to increase its share of this market due to its technical competitiveness. Kenyan users appreciate the quality and reliability of U.S. medical equipment - although price is an issue. Leading private sector hospitals are very active in modernizing their medical equipment inventories, while public sector hospitals are expected to engage in a re-equipping strategy following improved budgetary allocations. Presently, most public health institutions lack basic medical equipment. An analysis of the Ministry of Health’s requirements for medical equipment for the 2007-2008 period indicates a critical need for basic equipment such as delivery beds, infant incubators, mortuary trolleys, hydraulic operating tables, mercurial sphygmomanometers, oxygen flow meters among others. The electro-medical devices that were required over this period included a few units of X-ray machines, ultrasound scanners, mammography units, and EEG and ECT machines.
At a November 2008 East African Regional Medical Engineers’ Scientific Conference in Kisumu, Kenya, delegates decried the poor state of equipment at government hospitals with most being obsolete leading to many Kenyans preferring medical services in private hospitals or in foreign countries, despite the exorbitant cost. However, there are plans by the government to re-introduce a National Health Insurance Scheme bill before parliament in 2009, a much-improved draft over the December 2004 bill that President Kibaki declined to assent to. If this bill is implemented, there will be a definite need for the government to increase its public hospitals re-equipping budget to cater for the higher numbers of patient visits that are expected when this universal health scheme becomes a reality. A similar reaction is also likely from the private health sector that has striven to keep abreast with the latest healthcare technologies that are available today.