For the greater part of the 21st century, the major growth economies have been Brazil, Russia, India, China, and, more recently South Africa. All provided excellent opportunities for industries to grow including the area of medical devices. Uncertainties in these markets recently due to political challenges and currency fluctuations have caused many businesses a certain degree of angst, remaining steadfast in these regions is important as the situation may change rapidly and missing the bounce will prove more detrimental. While you are waiting for the rebound, stratifying risk may prove to be just as beneficial by looking beyond BRICS to adjacent emerging markets.
Central Asia, Africa, and South America are packed with opportunities, albeit with similar risk as BRICS but on a smaller scale. Take, for example, Kazakhstan (Social Health Insurance Project), Uzbekistan (Health System Improvement Projects), Azerbaijan (44.5 percent increase in health care budget for 2019), Ivory Coast (SPARK- Health), Bolivia (Health Service Delivery Network Project). All has implemented plans and/or allocated funding for improving patient care. The common objective of these programs is to improve the quality of life and outcomes for their population.
“The long-term growth potential should not be undermined by current constraints on risk; rather, it is an investment in the sustainable future of these areas as they modernize their health care practices”
The statistics are staggering when you look at the level of non-communicable diseases resulting in death that are, in turn, taking a toll on the overall sustainable growth in these areas. Africa as a continent averages’ life expectancy between 55-65 years, Central Asia 65-75 years, whereas Central Europe is approximately 82+ years of age; an almost 10-20 plus year gap. Access to early detection and diagnosis, interventional medication and surgery, and patient monitoring will help improve the life expectancy and economic growth of these populations. The investment in training, infrastructure and facilities will provide opportunities for industry to support their growth. It will be a challenge to determine how to operate in areas where prior experience may be thin; however it is this teaching and learning opportunity that will add to the skill-set of any organization while stratifying risk. Early engagement with authorities, either direct or via trade associations, patient advocacy groups, and local health organizations, will help determine the best path forward. While the objective is obvious; introduce new products to these markets, it should be less about up-selling and more focused on addressing needs and helping to identify needs that may not have been considered.
The long-term growth potential should not be undermined by current constraints on risk; rather, it is an investment in the sustainable future of these areas as they modernize their health care practices. Overall, the opportunities are immense in these adjacent emerging markets; being part of the initial toss will mean you are part of the bounce.