A new Covid Response Report (CRR), produced by Oxford Business Group (OBG) in partnership with the digital health platform Altibbi, explores the rapid development and uptake of medical and health technology across four MENA markets in 2020, while considering the major part that further innovation will play in driving economic recovery in the region.
The CRR provides in-depth analysis of how Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the UAE responded to the pandemic in an easy-to-navigate and accessible format, focusing on key data and infographics relating to the technological advances in the health care system of each country against the broader socio-economic landscape.
The report tracks the investment made by all four countries in health care provision in recent years which, while varying in terms of funds allocated and inflows, bolstered their efforts to contain the virus when it arrived and care for patients.
It looks, in particular, at the broad range of tech-led medical and health services introduced by each market, which proved crucial in the pandemic by making alternative, remote solutions available and reducing the overall pressure on traditional systems.
Key examples included e-health and telemedicine options, which were key in delivering vital public health information and facilitating remote consultations, thereby helping to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
Subscribers will also find coverage of the medical and health technology industry’s potential for growth in areas such as medical record digitalisation, which is expected to gain momentum in line with demand for integrated health care systems, telemedicine and automation.
The report explores Altibbi’s growth story, tracking its expansion and the steps it took to continue operating throughout the pandemic, when demand for services – both established and new – rose sharply. It also looks in detail at the firm’s collaborative projects with the governments of Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, which enabled them to continue delivering their health care provision through telehealth consultations and Covid-19 information hotlines, alongside other services, in a challenging environment.
Jalil Allabadi, Founder and CEO, Altibbi, said that having enabled governments to provide essential health information and medical services remotely when Covid-19 arrived, new technologies were now expected to play an even greater role in post-pandemic health care, driven forward by changing demographics, rising levels of internet use and pressure on current systems.
“Approximately 400m people in the Arab world are still without access to essential medical services, while the proportion of the MENA population aged over 65 is rising. At the same time, an estimated 70% of doctor visits are considered to be unnecessary,” he said. “Technological tools in various forms, ranging from telemedicine to apps, will play a critical part in meeting demand for health information and medical care, at a time when governments are keeping a close eye on their budgets.”
Karine Loehman, OBG’s Managing Director for Africa, said that unlike key areas of the global economy, technology-enabled health services had performed strongly during the pandemic, with health-tech companies able to tap into the disruption to doing business.
“The outlook for the sector is bright, with industry players already focused on developing solutions that will help to fill vacuums in quality and infrastructure,” he said. “From a regional perspective, all four study countries are expected to exhibit strong GDP per capita growth going forward, pointing to promising prospects for higher purchasing power and telehealth spending.”