MACH4 Pharma Systems Receives German Global Health Award for South Africa Pharmacy Access Initiative

MACH4 Pharma Systems Receives German Global Health Award for South Africa Pharmacy Access Initiative

Omnicell, Inc. announced that its robotic dispensing solutions company, MACH4 Automatisierungstechnik GmbH, has been recognized by the German Healthcare Partnership, the Federation of German Industries, and the Biotechnology Industry Organization of Germany for its efforts in innovation to provide better access to pharmacy services in South Africa. The Federal Minister of Economics and Energy, Brigitte Zypries, presented the Company with the German Global Health award at the Allianz Forum, Pariser Platz in Berlin, on May 17.

MACH4 Automatisierungstechnik GmbH was recognized for its Pharmacy of the Future project. Pharmacy of the Future places robotic dispensing systems, with Patient Dispensing Units (PDUs), in shopping centers to improve access to medicines in South Africa. The program was developed in partnership with Right to Care, Right ePharmacy, the Department of Health South Africa, The Deutsche Gesellschaft für International Zusammenarbeit GmbH and USAID. Goals of the project are easier accessibility and decreased waiting times in outpatient pharmacies for patients with stable but chronic conditions. Patients without access to these systems have to travel to clinics and hospitals every month to refill their prescriptions, even if they are stable and do not require medical consultation. Waiting times for these patients can average four to five hours.

The collaboration seeks to provide better access and adherence to medications for the estimated 7.5 million South Africans infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). The partnership began as a pilot project that will be handed to the national health system to ensure sustainability and structural adaptability going forward.

“We’re honored to be recognized with the German Global Health award,” said Dirk Beils, senior director, Engineering at MACH4 Automatisierungstechnik GmbH. “Just as we’re inspired by the care providers deliver in the acute setting, we’re also committed to creating a better life for those who are actively advocating for their own health. We hope the implementation of these PDUs will forge a pathway toward a healthier population that will continue to serve the country of South Africa for years to come.”

Healthcare could be an engine for economic growth, says Cimas CEO

Healthcare could be an engine for economic growth, says Cimas CEO

Healthcare could be an engine for growth in the economy, according to Cimas chief executive Vulindlela Ndlovu. He told journalists there was the potential for specialist health institutions to be established that could attract patients from other countries.

He said there was a critical shortage of specialists in Zimbabwe in certain areas, necessitating treatment for some conditions in other countries.

Yet there were areas of specialist expertise where, if local specialists came together to establish affordable specialist health institutions, not only could Zimbabweans be treated locally but patients could be attracted from other countries.
Addressing journalists at a recent ZimSelector Journalists Insurance Mentorship Programme workshop, he gave an eye hospital as an example of a specialist institution that local eye specialists could establish.

At present Zimbabweans and people from all over Africa were being referred to an eye hospital in South Africa for treatment. If eye specialists in Zimbabwe were to establish an eye hospital, they could attract patients from other countries who currently had to go to South Africa, he said.

Mr Ndlovu said medical aid societies were playing a critical role in the health sector both in funding medical treatment and in providing health and medical services themselves.

He denied there was any conflict of interest in medical aid societies establishing health service facilities. Doing so worked well in other countries. Medical aid societies established these facilities because they wanted to ensure as many people as possible had access to health facilities.

Challenges medical aid societies faced included the lack of a common economic tariff agreed to by both funders and service providers, delays in contribution payments, fraud and the costly disintegrated medical practice units, which resulted in high costs, as each service provider charged separately for the services provided for a medical procedure.

An operation at a private clinic could results in six different invoices, after the hospital, surgeon, anaesthetist, laboratory pathology and others, such as a physiotherapist, had submitted their bills.

In India, he said, included in a hospital package were the services of a whole suite of specialists.

He cited the example of a child with a chronic mental disorder treated in India. At the hospital, the child was seen by a neuro-paediatrician, child development specialist, psychiatrist, ophthalmologist, ear nose and throat specialist, speech therapist, occupational therapist and physiotherapist, all for the same price as it would have cost just for the services of a single neuro-surgeon in Zimbabwe.

He said Cimas was placing a major emphasis on promoting wellness among its members. Instances of non-communicable diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, heart disease and cancer were all on the rise.

Wellness programmes, which included exercise, the correct diet and lifestyle changes such as giving up smoking and reducing one’s alcohol intake, reduced the risk of these diseases. Hence the importance Cimas was according its wellness programme to improve the quality of life of its members and help extend their lifespan.

Kenya: Bamburi Cement Rewards Retailers With U.S.$1.5m Medical Cover

Kenya: Bamburi Cement Rewards Retailers With U.S.$1.5m Medical Cover

Cement maker Bamburi has offered its retailers a Ksh150 million ($1.5 million) medical insurance cover.

The Afya Ya Nguvu deal for inpatient and outpatient cover, whose underwriters are Sanlam General Insurance, is expected to benefit 800 people to reward the retailers’ loyalty.

The scheme will be administered by Alexander Forbes.

“We conducted a market survey and realised that only 36 per cent of our retailers had medical insurance. Afya ya Nguvu is a direct response to this need,” said Bamburi managing director Bruno Pescheux.

Alexander Forbes executive director, James Olubayi urged companies to develop solutions to ease the burden of health costs on their various constituencies, which are critical for the survival of any organisation.

“When innovation in product design is applied then one can strike a balance between benefits and price,” he said.

Healthcare in Kenya remains a costly affair as most families rely on savings to access health care and are often pushed to fundraise to manage chronic illnesses.

The cement maker is the first manufacturer to offer such a service to its retailers in Kenya, where a majority of health insurance schemes are offered to employees in the formal sector.

As at January 2017, 6.2 million Kenyans were registered with the National Hospital Insurance Fund, but only four million were consistent with their monthly payments.

Informal sector workers make up only 39 per cent of the total workers registered with the NHIF, despite constituting 83 per cent of the over 15 million Kenyan workforce.

Kenya has the highest informal sector employment in Africa, accounting for 77.9 per cent of total employment, ahead of Rwanda’s 73.4 per cent Uganda’s 59.2 per cent and Tanzania’s 8.5 per cent according to a 2015 report by United Nations’ Economic Commission for Africa.

Medical insurance accounts for only 22.1 per cent of the Kenyan insurance market. A survey by online health service provider Daktari Africa shows that only 12 per cent of Kenyans are subscribed to insurance programs, translating to 480,000 people out of the country’s over 40 million population.

Africa’s new medical school: Quality health care

Africa’s new medical school: Quality health care

Rwanda has achieved some of the most dramatic gains in health and poverty-reduction in the world. This small, landlocked African country (the size of Massachusetts, but with twice the population) has developed a primary health-care system with near-universal access to clinical care and insurance. Rwanda has reduced both economic and health-care inequality, and demonstrates how “health equity” helps to build strong societies.

The secret to Rwanda’s success is that its leaders are building “modern institutions on traditional values.” They built a system of community justice, called Gacaca, which integrated their need for nationwide reconciliation with an ancient tradition of clemency. They breathed life back into a civic tradition of Umuganda, where one day a month, citizens, including the president, gather together to weed their fields, clean their streets, and build homes for the poorest among them.

In 2015, the government of Rwanda and the Boston-based Partners In Health (PIH), with the help of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Cummings Foundation, established the private, not-for-profit University of Global Health Equity (UGHE). The university is founded on the principle that every member of a community deserves the same care and opportunity, and focuses on the delivery of quality health care to those who need it most. Agnes Binagwaho, a co-founder of UGHE who is a former minister of health and an adjunct professor at Harvard Medical School, once said to me, “Why would I want to raise my children in a nation where all children don’t get the same medical care as they do?”

Rwanda’s government has already pledged $43 million to UGHE in land and infrastructure support. Its leaders have launched a two-year, part-time Master of Science in Global Health Delivery to teach how to create national health care in developing countries. Lecturers from Rwanda’s Ministry of Health, Harvard Medical School, Yale University, and Tufts University taught Rwandan students everything from epidemiology to budget management.

Last summer, UGHE began construction on a 250-acre campus in Butaro. This year, 250 professionals from as far away as Mexico and Australia will compete for 25 spots on that campus. Undergraduate and graduate degrees in nursing and oral health, and non-clinical programs in research and health management, are next. In 2018, UGHE’s campus will also be home to a school of medicine. It will provide space for generations of health professionals to learn how to heal patients, comprehend the sociology of disease, and build the health systems that make a strong society.

UGHE’s founders believe that, by the time the university celebrates its ten-year anniversary, 480 students will have graduated; another 870 will be earning their degrees; and over 2,500 professionals will have attended executive education courses. They expect that over 1,000 of the students passing through the UGHE’s doors in that first decade will arrive from the rest of Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Americas.

Rwandans will invite these international students to visit their communities to observe their traditions and learn how to care for their people. The young men and women will attend Rwandans’ weddings and funerals, learn to prepare and enjoy their foods, and acquire some of their language, the portal through which to view their sturdy values. Rwandans will teach their international guests that in Africa, family is an all-encompassing concept, and that, in Rwanda, an entire generation treats the next as its own children. The international network of UGHE alumni, unified by their commitment to realize health equity for their own communities, will become a global force for change.

UGHE will also strengthen Rwandan society. Though regarded by many as one of the safest and least corrupt societies in the world, Rwanda faces a great shortage of doctors and nurses. There are 684 physicians in Rwanda, a total that is far below the 1,182 physicians proposed by the Ministry of Health, and only 27% of the World Health Organization’s recommended minimum of 2,576 physicians.

UGHE has already generated jobs, by hiring local laborers, and has increased access to the region, by creating new roads. It could boost Rwanda’s GDP by 0.5% per year, and every dollar invested in UGHE could generate $2 worth of return in economic development, according to McKinsey & Company.

Some social scientists assert that poverty is not just a matter of poor nutrition, lack of medical care, and inadequate shelter; it also means exclusion from global networks of trade, science and commerce.

UGHE will be Rwanda’s newest institution, a public-private collaboration based on traditional values: community, trust, hard work, and optimism about the future. It will integrate each citizen of Rwanda into global networks of learning. The Rwandans will accomplish this, as they do many things, because they believe that the only investment that can bring infinite returns is in their children, and because graduates of the University of Global Health Equity will be their sons and daughters, too.

Turkish Exporters Target Africa

At a time when struggling Turkish exporters are looking for ways to diversify their target markets, Africa is poised to become the new frontier market for Turkish firms as they position themselves to become major stakeholders in the region’s rapidly growing industries.
Africa has recorded an annual growth rate of 5 percent over the last decade and is expected to continue this trend in the coming years. Six out of ten fastest growing economies in the world are now in Africa. Economic predictions indicate that Africa will be a $29 trillion economy in 2050, larger than the 2012 combined GDP of the US and Eurozone.
Turkey’s exports to Africa in the last five years have tripled compared to its worldwide export volume, signalling a clear shift in the export focus towards Africa. Exports to African nations increased by 20.5 percent between 2011 and 2015, soaring to $12.5 billion in 2015 from $10.33 billion in 2011. At the end of 2014, Turkish direct investment in the continent stood at over $6 billion.
The record decline in exports to the EU, conflicts in Syria and Iraq; two main regional export markets for Turkey, the Russian boycott and the slowdown in the Middle East economy along with increased competition in the region, have been the biggest catalysts to search for new markets. This has lead to many Turkish companies including small and medium-sized enterprises, or SMEs, choosing to head towards Africa, tying their hopes to this new market as the continent presents a lot of opportunities for those seeking new investment options.
One of the main reasons why Africa, which has a 2.4% share in the world’s trade, is deemed quite important is the fact that there is major scope for industrialization on the continent. Africa imports nearly 95% of industry materials. Annual imports of the continent surpass $250 billion, which ensures a great investment and export potential in the market.
Some of the leading sectors with great potential are textiles, food, agriculture, energy, farm implements, construction and infrastructure services. Automotive supplier industries and agriculture-based industries are also good options for investors. The closed economic structure of Africa has helped lessen the impact of the economic crisis on the continent, generating a great advantage for investors seeking to enter the market.
The Turkish government is also forging ties with its African counterparts to negotiate tax agreements and boost trade by establishing links between Turkish firms and promising African markets that include more than 300 million people and a gross domestic product of $350 billion. African infrastructure needs also represent important opportunities for Turkish firms that are ranked among the best global performers and offer regional markets, higher quality options than their Chinese counterparts.
Africa offers Turkish investors a predominantly virgin market overflowing with investment and trade opportunities, along with pro-business governments to protect their rights as investors. The continent still craves more investments in various sectors of the economy such as energy, infrastructure, large-scale farming, agro-processing and general manufacturing; sectors in which Turkish firms hold significant experience and technical expertise which could make them critical players as long-term investors, creating a win-win situation for both parties.


Africa is currently home to five of the fastest growing economies in the world. According to a global study, the continent’s economy is forecast to grow to $2.6 trillion in 2020 from $1.6 trillion in 2008, fuelled by booms in mining, agriculture and development of ports, roads and other infrastructure. This rapid economic growth is what is creating substantial new business opportunities in the region.
Over the past decade, Africa’s real GDP grew by 4.7% a year, on average—twice the pace of its growth in the 1980s and 1990s. This growth was observed across all nations and sectors. By 2009, Africa’s collective GDP of $1.6 trillion was roughly equal to Brazil’s or Russia’s, making the continent among the fastest-expanding economic regions in the world today.
While the Chinese economy has slowed down, along with a slump in the Middle East economy due to low oil prices, the African economy has been steadily on the rise. In fact, Africa was the only continent that grew during the recent global recession. Though Africa’s growth rate slowed to 2% in 2009, it bounced back to nearly 5% in 2010 and has continued to grow ever since.
As Africa’s economies progress, opportunities are opening in sectors such as retailing, energy, banking, infrastructure-related industries, resource-related businesses, and all along the agricultural value chain. Consider that telecom companies in Africa have added 316 million subscribers—more than the entire U.S. population—since 2000.
According to a UN survey, Africa offers a higher return on investment than any other emerging market. The main reasons highlighted for this are competition being less intense, the presence of fewer foreign companies and a huge pent-up consumer demand. Companies that desire revenues and profits can no longer ignore Africa.
Getting in early to a developing market allows companies to build up strong brands and sales channels that can reap big profits in the long run. This has been China’s strategy in Africa over the past two decades. It has aggressively promoted trade and investment, courting countries by offering aid in exchange for favourable trade terms. Good local partners are also key to success in the African market.
Africa’s long-term prospects are strong, because both internal and external trends are propelling its growth. Africa will continue to profit from the global demand for oil, natural gas, minerals, food, and other natural resources. The continent has an abundance of riches; including 10% of the world’s oil reserves, 40% of its gold ore, and 80% to 90% of its deposits of chromium and platinum group metals. To exploit them, African governments are forging new types of partnerships in which buyers from countries such as China and India provide up-front payments, invest in infrastructure, and share management skills and technology.
Since 2000, African countries have cut their combined foreign debt from 82% of GDP to 59% and reduced budget deficits from 4.6% of GDP to 1.8%, which sent inflation rates tumbling from 22% to 8%.
Many people picture Africans as subsistence farmers, but there’s a sizable middle class on the continent. By 2008, 16 million African households had incomes above $20,000 a year—a level that enabled them to buy houses, cars, appliances, and branded products. Africans spent $860 billion on goods and services in 2008—35% more than the $635 billion that Indians spent, and slightly more than the $821 billion of consumer expenditures in Russia.
If Africa maintains its current growth trajectory, consumers will buy $1.4 trillion worth of goods and services in 2020, which will be a little less than India’s projected $1.7 trillion but more than Russia’s $960 billion, which should make Africa one of the fastest-growing consumer markets of this decade.

Kenya Launches World’s First Child-Friendly TB Drug

Kenya has become as the first country in the world to launch new child-friendly medicines for treating tuberculosis (TB).

The drugs are strawberry-flavoured and dissolve in water to make it easier for children to swallow.

The number of tablets given to children has also been reduced by half, from eight to four pills daily.

The Ministry of Health said the new drugs, to be rolled out countrywide by October 1, will be given to children depending on the child’s weight

About 7,000 children in the country have TB.

The flavoured regimen, known as a “fixed dose combination”, will be available for free at all health facilities countrywide.

The Kenyan government spends about Sh2 billion annually to treat TB.

Kenya to Contribute Sh500 Million in Aids, TB and Malaria Fight

Kenya has announced it will donate $5 million (Sh500 million) to the Global Fund to fight Aids, tuberculosis and malaria as other international donors pledged over $12.9 billion for the next three years to help end the epidemics.

Kenya’s pledge at the launch of the Fund’s fifth replenishment made it one of the highest contributors from Africa.

The replenishment conference was hosted in Montreal, Canada, between September 16 and 17 by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who said there was a need to engage the youth in order to succeed in global health.

Canada increased its own contribution by 23 per cent to CAD$804 million, with many new partners making first-time pledges.

At the same time, private sector contributions more than doubled.

The Kenyan government donation is part of the concept of “giving to receive” that requires countries that benefit from the global fund to also make contributions.

Last year, Kenya pledged $2 million (Sh200 million).

Running the seventh largest Global Fund portfolio, Kenya is expected to receive more than Sh34 billion from the Global Fund in the next three years.

Other countries from Africa that made contributions to the Fund include South Africa ($5 million) and Namibia ($1.5 million).

“We can end these epidemics for good if we accelerate our efforts and continue to bring in new partners,” said Mr Trudeau.

Global Fund financing comes primarily from the public sector, with approximately 95 per cent of total funding coming from donor governments and the remaining 5 per cent coming from the private sector, private foundations and innovative financing initiatives.

More than 50 donor governments have contributed to the Fund, with a total of more than $30 billion.

As a public-private partnership, the Global Fund organises a resource mobilization programme every three years for private sector and non-government partners to make contributions to the fund, which is used in financing HIV, tuberculosis and malaria programmes across low- and middle-income countries.

Children with diabetes can have a bright future

With good blood sugar control and the use of modern technology, patients nowadays don’t have to have overly rigid lifestyles in order to live long, healthy lives without complications.

With proper monitoring and management, children with diabetes can live long and healthy lives, a diabetes expert says.

“Although there is no cure at this time, treatment options have significantly improved over the years,” said Dr Jason Klein, a paediatric endocrinologist and head of the Paediatric Diabetes Programme at NYU Lutheran Medical Centre in New York City.

“With insulin pens, pumps and modern devices that allow more precise and continuous day and night monitoring of blood sugar levels, we can make small adjustments in the dosage of insulin to prevent sugar levels from rising or dropping too fast. Excellent glucose control gives patients and their families peace of mind,” Klein explained in a university news release.

“Regardless of the type of diabetes [type 1 or type 2] a patient may have, education of the patient and the family is extremely important,” he said.

When children are diagnosed with diabetes, parents often fear the worst, he noted.

“We begin with listening to what the families and patients know about diabetes, since many of their fears are based on old or incorrect information,” Klein said.

“With good blood sugar control and use of modern treatments and technologies, patients today do not have to have overly rigid lifestyles in order to live long, healthy lives free of complications,” he said.

eHealth : Enabler of healthcare revolution in Africa

eHealth is revolutionising healthcare delivery in Africa by offering governments and vendors a way to curb low resource issues and expand the reach and affordability of healthcare. Governments of Kenya, South Africa and Ghana are bolstering the capacity of the healthcare workforce by using mHealth, video telemedicine and healthcare IT.

Notably, Kenya has leapfrogged ahead as local start-ups dominate the digital health market. Establishing partnerships, either through public-private partnerships (PPPs), between two local vendors, or between a local vendor and a key international vendor with a strong global foothold. This would prove to be a game-changer in tapping into upcoming opportunities.

Enabling eHealth Technology in South Africa, Kenya, and Ghana is the new analysis from Frost & Sullivan’s Connected Health Growth Partnership Service program. It covers population health management, health information exchange, hospital cyber security, mobile computing applications in integrated care, business analytics in life sciences, tele-health.

mHealth solutions and video telemedicine are being deployed to create awareness, improve lifestyle, and offer guidance towards better healthcare outcomes. Gradually, eHealth will minimise investment towards hospital bed-strength as more patients receive care within, or close to, their homes without hospital admission.

“The total eHealth market for South Africa, Kenya and Ghana is in a nascent stage with expectations of high long-term growth,” confirmed Transformational Health Research Analyst Aditi Bhalla. “Vendors offering quick and effective healthcare outcomes will gain a tremendous advantage. To enable this, public-private partnerships and integrated businesses will be apt business models.”