UCT News article entitled Health tech: appropriate over affordable talks to the fact that the majority of Medical Devices used in South Africa are imported, and that there is a dire need for local innovation in Health Technology to find solutions to our unique healthcare challenges.
UCT is already a centre of excellence for innovation in many areas, healthcare included. The Western Cape Government itself has identified healthcare innovation as an important strategy for the region. To this end, Wesgro was established some years ago and has as a strategic project has established the Cape Health Technology Park.
In our own practice, we have seen an increase in the number of bankable feasibility studies commissioned for the establishment of various types of manufacturing facilities. These are often associated with incentives from Special Economic Zones, DTI or IDC incentives.
The Preferential Procurement Policy Framework has assisted in establishing a market for South African produced medical devices and these will continue to grow. A critical element is however missing. Although certain products are given protection as a designated sector, Medical Devices more broadly is not a designated industry or sector.
Designating the Medical Device Sector has been a “priority” for some time but more pressure has to be placed on the Department of Trade and Industry to get a move along and assist the sector in reaching its full potential and to utilize national resources such as UCT and the Cape Health Technology Park.