Healthy shot for Cape Town

2015-05-19 06:00

Government is set to invest up to R600m in the development of an innovation hub in Cape Town to improve the area’s competitiveness in the area of health technology.

This was announced by provincial economic opportunities minister Alan Winde and health minister Nomafrench Mbombo last week, as they addressed the Public Private Health Forum at Lentegeur hospital.

The facility is set to create 5000 jobs and generate R4bn for the local economy, as the majority of the country’s medical device manufacturers are based in the Western Cape.

Winde delivered the keynote address on the future of medical innovation in South Africa.

South Africa’s world-class medical innovations have garnered international acclaim, Winde said.

“The Western Cape is the site of ground-breaking medical procedures such as the world’s first successful heart and penis transplants. In the technology space a pair of medical doctors has scooped international awards for their mobile triage app which was piloted at the Khayelitsha district hospital,” he said.

There is also massive potential in the medical tourism industry.

However, while South Africa’s medical equipment export industry is worth R1bn, our imports are valued at R11bn, Winde explained. “These figures, contained in a Deloitte study commissioned by the department of trade and industry, show that our trade deficit is increasing sharply and currently stands at over R9bn, of the products investigated in the study,” he said.

“It is our goal to harness our strengths to ensure that the production and use of local content is prioritised.”

The majority of the country’s medical device manufacturers (43%) are based in our province.

The Cape Health Technology Park, set to be located in Pinelands, presents a significant opportunity to support health innovation.

This health technology hub would bring together research and development firms, universities, academic hospitals, government and the private sector to drive innovation, Winde said.

“The project is moving to the next stage of feasibility and preparation work for land acquisition has started.

“We are confident this collaboration will lead to the development of new firms and intellectual properties which will establish our region as a globally competitive centre of health innovation,” he said

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