'Immense' Opportunities For Entrepreneurs In Egypt's Quickly-Growing Health Sector



Sat, 12 Dec 2015 - 02:15 GMT


Sat, 12 Dec 2015 - 02:15 GMT

Egypt's quickly-growing healthcare sector offers immense opportunities for local entrepreneurs in fields like wearables, genome sequencing and data collection, said Walid Bakr, managing director of the Abraaj Group, a private equity investing firm, during a panel spotlighting the industry on Saturday at the RiseUp summit.

"We're seeing opportunities for completely disrupting the healthcare space," Bakr said during the panel that discussed the biggest challenges and opportunities in Egyptian healthcare.

The healthcare sector in Egypt is valued at some 14 billion dollars, and growing quickly because of population growth and increased health awareness, Bakr said. Since the government doesn't have the funds to catch up with that demand, the only solution is to focus on prevention to reduce that demand, Bakr said.

"Focusing on the delivery of health care is missing the bigger picture," Bakr said. "Healthcare is much more beyond the treatment and prevention of injury. We can look at opportunities from an entrepreneurial perspective on how we can transform the process of healthcare from prevention (nutrition, lifestyle,) to assessment like tele-medicine, and the relationships between providers and insurance companies."

Technologies like wearables are transforming the whole healthcare space with devices like a portable ultrasound that connects to your smartphone or insulin implants that control the blood glucose level in diabetes patients without injections, Bakr said. Genome sequencing is today done for dramatically lower costs compared to a decade ago and allows doctors to tell what diseases a newborn will be susceptible to in order to focus on prevention. Big data and analytics also offer an immense opportunity for entrepreneurs, as do fields like post-care and monitoring that are "completely untapped" in Egypt.

Egypt's biggest problem is access, however, with not enough beds and hospitals to meet patient demands, said Karim Hussein, of DKimia. Tele-medicine offers the solution, especially for rural areas by giving more access to a broader range of people. The technology also has the ability to provide the mediocre physician with the tools and knowledge at their fingertips that match the best physicians, he said.



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