Expanding Point-of-Care Diagnostics for Non-Communicable Diseases in Africa

June 19, 2024
Expanding Point-of-Care Diagnostics for Non-Communicable Diseases in Africa

Market Access Africa's tailored market penetration strategies enabled a manufacturer of point-of-care diabetes diagnostic kits to refine their commercial approaches for each market, resulting in enhanced relationships with national and regional partners dedicated to non-communicable diseases (NCDs).

Our client, a global diagnostic company, operates in over 160 countries, offering a comprehensive portfolio covering various disease indications. Their flagship product for cardiometabolic diseases is a compact analyzer that performs multiple tests (CRP, HbA1c, ACR, and Lipid Panel) for point-of-care testing. This versatile device is used in physician offices, clinics, community healthcenters, retirement homes, emergency rooms, and hospital outpatient clinics.

The Problem

In 2019, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported that 7 of the 10 leading global causes of death were non-communicable diseases (NCDs), accounting for 74% of all deaths. In Africa, over a third of deaths are due to NCDs, including cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, chronic respiratory diseases, and cancer.

The WHO advocates for the decentralization of NCD management through primary healthcare settings by deploying affordable point-of-care solutions. HbA1c testing, which measures average blood glucose levels over the past three months, is crucial for diabetes management but is often limited to centralized laboratories, delaying results and hindering timely clinical decisions. In many primary and secondary healthcare facilities in Africa, HbA1c testing is not readily available.

Our client aimed to expand their point-of-care platform to primary and secondary healthcare facilities in Africa, where patients with NCDs seek care most frequently. They engaged MarketAccess Africa to develop a go-to-market strategy for product expansion across 11 African countries.

The Solution

The project was executed in two phases: design andimplementation.

In the design phase, Market Access Africa conducted a thorough situational analysis to assess the current state of diabetes testing in the 11 target countries. This analysis identified barriers to the widespread adoption of HbA1c testing at primary and secondary care levels. Key findings included:

·        HbA1c testing was mostly available only in centralized laboratories on mid and high-throughput platforms.

·        Point-of-care solutions were rare in the public sector and prohibitively expensive in theprivate sector.

·        HbA1c testing was not covered by national health insurance schemes.

Based on these insights, Market Access Africa developed a comprehensive go-to-market strategy, incorporating feedback from healthcare providers, national and subnational buyers, and policymakers. The strategy outlined key channels and customers, high-impact actions for customer conversion, potential risks and mitigation strategies, and key events/forums for engagement with key opinion leaders (KOLs).

In the implementation phase, Market Access Africa supported the client with KOL activation, business development, and the deployment of the platform across several operational research sites in Africa. These activities aimed to build evidence on the product's utility and acceptability at primary and secondary care levels.

The Outcome

Market Access Africa's support led to the establishment of long-term strategic partnerships between the client and key public sector institutions, facilitating the introduction of the product. Several pilot programs were initiated, and the data generated from these pilots influenced policymaking to decentralize HbA1c testing.

As a result of these engagements, the client saw a 2.5X increase in orders from the 11 target countries compared to the previous year. The tailored market penetration strategies curated by Market Access Africa enabled the client to refine their commercial approaches for each market, leading to improved relationships with national and regional partners focused on NCDs.

Key lessons learnt

Demonstration Studies: Demonstrating utility of technology plays a crucial role in informing the adoption of new technologies in Africa. Even if the product is already accepted in other markets (e.g. Asia) there is value in contributing to local data generation needed for contextual adoption and deployment. Successful demonstration studies can turn national KOLs into product champions.

Right Distribution Partner: It is vital to have a distribution partner who is well-versed in both publicand private sector channels, including within the local ecosystem of local NCDs related associations and special interest groups within the country.

Download the PDF

Download the free PDF now to access expert insights, practical tips, and in-depth information.

Other Case Studies

Sign Up For Our Newsletter