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Strong demand for pathology and diagnostics equipment in South Africa

July 1, 2020
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Why this is important to Wisconsin businesses: Wisconsin exporters can help meet the demand for equipment and supplies.

Pathology/laboratory equipment and consumables figure heavily in the $30 billion-plus health care industry in South Africa. South Africa’s publicly funded health care system, while easily one of the best in Africa, is under an immense amount of pressure; the South African government is responsible for 40% of the country’s health expenditures, but this system serves more than 80% of the population. As a result of this strain, publicly funded health providers are often lacking in equipment, practitioners and availability. Nevertheless, it is important to note that the South African government is making an active effort to improve the quality of the health care it funds, spending 8.3% of GDP on health—well over the World Health Organization’s recommended 5%.

Growth in the health care sector across Africa is estimated to be at 8-9% annually, and pathology requirements echo this growth. Below are listed the main entities supplying pathology services in South Africa; Wisconsin exporters of pathology equipment and consumables are encouraged to investigate South Africa and other African countries for opportunities. Medical testing laboratories are housed in both the public and private health sectors in South Africa. These include the three largest private laboratories in the nation as well as one national provider.

Ampath has more than 300 facilities, including reference laboratories, regional laboratories, satellite (STAT) laboratories and service depots. Offering exceptional service from over 140 registered pathologists, Ampath serves approximately 40% of the private health care market in South Africa, resulting in a nationwide analytical and consultative operation, performing over 75,000 clinical analyses daily. Their facilities are ISO accredited by the South African National Accreditation System. Ampath employs approximately 4,500 people.

Lancet Laboratories is one of the leading pathology laboratories operating throughout Africa, providing vital diagnostic and monitoring pathology services in South Africa, Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Their service, headed by over 90 specialty pathologists with a broad range of expertise, performs in excess of 3,700 separate pathology tests in South Africa. The company processes up to 1.8 million tests per month and offer an extensive range of pathology services, from sophisticated molecular and cytogenetic investigations to advanced chemical analyses.

Pathcare Pathology offers an extensive range of screening and diagnostic tests to support the prevention and management of disease in both the health care sector and agricultural industry. Pathcare is a partnership of pathologists in private practice that offers their services across the country.  Their footprint stretches beyond the South African borders.  They have operations in Lesotho and Namibia, and their laboratories in Kenya and Nigeria are the first internationally accredited medical laboratories in those countries. They have an excellent record of assisting doctors and other professionals to manage disease and improve health care since 1922. Pathcare employs approximately 2,600 people, including 79 pathologists, 206 medical technicians, 299 medical technologists, 342 nurses, 13 scientists, 100 laboratory assistants and 134 phlebotomists throughout the country. Pathcare has 63 laboratories and 116 depots.

National Health Laboratory Services is the main provider of clinical support services to the national, provincial and local departments of health through its country-wide network of diagnostic laboratories. Additionally, the NHLS also provides surveillance support for communicable diseases, occupational health and cancer. NHLS is the largest diagnostic pathology service in South Africa, serving over 80% of the country with over 7,000 employees, 203 of which are pathologists, 224 medical scientists, 2,300 medical technologists and technicians and 42 nurses. The NHLS reportedly performs more than 91 million tests per year. The NHLS has several initiatives geared toward promoting pathology in South Africa.

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