Slow economic growth has affected the affordability of healthcare in SA

03 April 2019

As a result of a rapid increase in the number of mergers and closures, the number of medical schemes has declined between 2000 and 2017, according to analysis from South African consultancy Alexander Forbes. The existing schemes now have an increasing pool of resources at their disposal.

South Africa’s economy has been struggling in recent years, resulting from a combination of political instability and a disproportional reliance on the oil and commodity trade, which has resulted in substantial dents to the country’s revenues after a dip in global oil and commodity prices in 2014.

The sluggish economy has had an impact on all sectors, including healthcare as per new analysis from Alexander Forbes’ Healthcare division. According to the firm, the number of medical schemes in South Africa stood at only 80 in 2017, which is substantially lower than the number in 2000.

Slow economic growth has affected the affordability of healthcare in SA

The slow down has been concentrated in the latter stages of the period in question, particularly since 2016. While the number of principal members in the healthcare sector grew by 1% between 2015 and 2016, the growth rate fell to 0.5% between 2016 and 2017.

As per the firm, the decline in the number of schemes has corresponded with a substantial increase in the costs of healthcare. Affordability has been falling constantly, which has had repercussions as far as on the demographic constitution of the country. According to Zaid Saeed, a specialist at the firm, the dip in affordability has been accompanied by a decrease in the family size.

“For those in formal employment private medical cover is usually a condition of service, but in a struggling economy, members are removing one or more of their children from cover before cancelling their own membership. Overall, the demographic profile and financial strength of the industry remain stable,” he said.

”In the open schemes industry, the sustainability index for the top 10 schemes has improved since 2006, meaning that the medical schemes industry has become stronger,” he added. A number of consulting firms in the country have been working to develop innovative solutions for the healthcare sector.

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Trade Africa to help bring smart wound technology to South African market

15 February 2019

South African boutique foreign direct investment consultancy Trade Africa will now offer cost-effective and innovative healthcare solutions across Africa through its strategic partnership with Synergy Wound Technology – a California-based healthcare technology firm.

Specifically, the partnership gives Trade Africa the grounds to market Synergy’s InteliWound  technology. Based on the cloud-first domain, InteliWound is a Software as a Service (SaaS) mobile application that allows for the reduction of costs in the treatment and care of wounds.

Under the terms of the partnership Trade Africa will begin by marketing inteliWound in the South African market, and will subsequently market the solution across the broader region of Africa as well. The platform is housed in the global Amazon Web services (AWS) network, and is accessible via iPad as well.

Trade Africa to help bring smart wound technology to South African market

The application offers a range of support in the domain of wound care, including camera identification of the wound and the subsequent assessment and evalutation based on medically informed ratings. The application then provides suggestions regarding the most appropriate course of treatment.

InteliWound also hosts a platform for coordination between a practitioner and a patient, as well as information on where to obtain the equipment and materials required to treat the wound in question. The technology enters a vibrant and innovative South African market, where a number of professional services firm are currently looking for innovative healthcare solutions

Commenting on the partnership, Charles Faul, CEO of Trade Africa’s Healthcare department said, “InteliWound fits with Trade Africa Healthcare’s mission: to offer solutions in novel and innovative ways to improve access to affordable healthcare across Africa. We believe InteliWound will assist many medical aid companies in our country to save money on wound care costs through its comprehensive wound management system and in turn reduce the cost of healthcare for patients, while improving the quality of care in many wound care settings.”

“Synergy Wound Technology developed InteliWound to combat the high costs of wound care management with a technology-driven system that will deliver an immediate return on investment and improved outcomes from the customer’s first wound care engagement. Our team at Synergy Wound Technology is looking forward to supporting Trade Africa Healthcare to help solve the challenges of managing wound care in Africa and beyond,” added Tom Forgeron, Founder & CEO at Synergy Wound Technology.