"The growth of the private sector has paved the way for innovative technologies such as three-dimensional/four-dimensional (3D/4D) ultrasound and computed radiography (CR) X-ray systems, although they continue to be mostly limited to private hospitals," says Frost & Sullivan Industry Analyst Jolize Gerber. "The public sector is focussing more on equipping all the referral hospitals with advanced technologies."
New analysis from Frost & Sullivan (medicalimaging.frost.com), The Medical Imaging Market in Tanzania, finds that the market earned revenues of $4.10 million in 2008 and estimates this to reach $13.86 million in 2015. The medical imaging technologies covered in this study are ultrasounds, computed tomography (CT) scans and X-rays.
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In 2000, the Tanzanian Government, in collaboration with the Dutch Government, initiated a hospital revitalisation programme, which included the provision of basic medical imaging systems to regional and district hospitals. The installation of these X-ray and ultrasound units was completed at the end of 2003, and many of these systems are now almost at the end of their lifecycles.
"The replacement or upgrading of these systems will subsequently provide solid opportunities for vendors in this market," Gerber predicts. "Suppliers will have the opportunity to upgrade old and outdated equipment with new technologies such as 3D/4D ultrasound and CR x-ray systems, which have considerable scope in this market."
The digitisation of X-ray systems took place in Tanzania only during the last two years. Although the Tanzanian medical imaging market is still small, the advantages of digital processing are anticipated to drive sales in this market significantly. Frost & Sullivan expects a slow, but steady, adoption. Digital systems provide the benefits of image manipulation to enhance contrast, radiation control and patient throughput. Moreover, these systems are more cost-effective than analogue radiography.
Ultrasound systems with 3D imaging are likely to drive sales in the medium-to-long term, as the benefits of real-time reconstruction and visualisation of images can be seen with greater precision, while managing to reduce the levels of invasiveness and, consequently, cost. This 3D technology has proven to be particularly beneficial in obstetrics by providing information that is not easily obtainable in 2D imaging.
However, there has been an increasing influx of low-cost Chinese and Indian brands into the price-sensitive Tanzanian medical imaging market. With the government favouring public tenders, major market participants have been compelled to compete with low-priced and low-specification products. Many high-quality product providers are finding it challenging to convince the healthcare decision makers about the economic and technical benefits of their products.
"Competitors in this market are driven to review their pricing policies while, at the same time, making sufficient profit in order to achieve revenue growth," explains Gerber. "Thus, the trend of price cutting remains a challenge for various companies as they attempt to compete with low-cost participants."
During the current economic downturn, access to financial loans from relevant institutions is limited. Therefore, manufacturers should be flexible in their financial options such as offering systems on a lease basis.
"Flexible financing, efficient maintenance, and continued customer support are key to achieving sustained growth in this market," concludes Gerber.
The Medical Imaging Market in Tanzania is part of the Medical Imaging Growth Partnership Services programme, which also includes research in the following markets: Strategic Analysis of the Healthcare Industry in Tanzania, Strategic Analysis of the Medical Imaging Market in Kenya, Key Sub-Saharan African Ultrasound Markets, and Hospital Purchasing and Reimbursement for Medical Devices in Key Sub-Saharan African countries. All research services included in subscriptions provide detailed market opportunities and industry trends that have been evaluated following extensive interviews with market participants.
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The Medical Imaging Market in Tanzania / M48E.