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EF: What are your priorities for 2023 across the entire Sub-Sahara region, and how do your strategies differ?
EE: Focusing on GE HealthCare's recent spinoff in January this year, the company's performance on NASDAQ has been commendable. In just over six months as a standalone entity, the transition from an industrial business to a healthcare venture has been marked by the vibrant symbol of passion: purple. Our company’s color is brought to life by passion purple. This hue embodies our shift and resonates with our purpose – to foster a world where healthcare knows no bounds. The fusion of meaning and color symbolizes our dedication to expanding healthcare possibilities. Our mission transcends boundaries. We aim to enhance access and redefine healthcare's capabilities, enabling us to provide exceptional care to patients under our clients' care. This strategic direction is pivotal in our journey forward. Zooming in on an African perspective, our focus magnifies the importance of pathways, notably in oncology, cardiology, and neurology. Leveraging digital technologies and a health-focused ecosystem, we are driving precision healthcare, striving for enhanced access across the SSA region within the African continent. Every day, we push the boundaries of possibility in healthcare.
EF: From a Sub-Saharan African perspective, how is GE HealthCare driving innovation beyond South Africa?
EE: Establishing a robust foundation in Sub-Saharan Africa is essential. This region needs more hospital beds, facilities, and specialist centers. To enhance healthcare accessibility and efficacy, governments are making substantial investments in fundamental healthcare infrastructure. This includes district, primary, and specialist hospitals catering to diverse needs such as cardiology, oncology, and urology. Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Mozambique, Nigeria, and Ghana are actively pursuing these initiatives to bridge the infrastructure gap and provide comprehensive care.
However, more than merely infrastructure is needed. Given the scarcity of specialized personnel, creating a seamless network need for more facilities is crucial. Digital tools play a pivotal role here. Utilizing technologies like command centers allows remote monitoring of ICU patients' vital signs. District hospitals can connect with central specialized centers, enabling efficient diagnosis and treatment, including advanced procedures like PET CT scans. Training in using these tools enabled through innovative tablet systems becomes imperative.
Building upon this foundation, digital enablement takes center stage. The convergence of AI and intranet capabilities lightens the load on healthcare resources. AI assists in the initial analysis, offering doctors a preliminary understanding of cases. This streamlines the diagnostic process, enabling specialists to focus on verification and nuanced decisions. Ultimately, the strategic integration of infrastructure, digitalization, connectivity, and AI technology holds immense promise in elevating healthcare standards across Sub-Saharan Africa.
EF: How does the spinoff influence the operational dynamics of GE HealthCare in Sub-Saharan Africa?
EE: Operating as an independent healthcare entity offers distinct advantages, notably agility and focused decision-making. Unlike larger conglomerates, we can pursue strategies that align with our healthcare mission. An illustrative example is our recent release of a revamped cultural framework. This initiative underscores our commitment to delivering enhanced patient and customer experiences. Central to this new cultural paradigm is an unwavering emphasis on patient care. We've set our sights on accelerating organizational growth and fostering a dynamic leadership approach. Guided by fundamental operating principles, we're dedicated to client service, a forward-thinking mindset, and nurturing an entrepreneurial spirit. Our sights are set on the present and the evolving healthcare landscape of the next few decades, enabling us to navigate strategically.
This framework has been meticulously designed through consultations within the healthcare community and our internal deliberations. As a standalone healthcare entity, our approach focuses on our unique identity rather than a one-size-fits-all model. Furthermore, our decision-making capabilities have been highlighted through recent acquisitions. Operating autonomously empowers us to swiftly navigate mergers and acquisitions, which can be burdened by layers within a conglomerate setting. The nimbleness we possess as a standalone entity is a powerful asset in realizing our growth and innovation goals.
EF: Do your partners recognize the increased value of GE HealthCare as a fully integrated healthcare company compared to before?
EE: In our current endeavors at GE HealthCare, our partnerships span various tiers, each with a specific focus. Globally, we've cultivated alliances with industry leaders like Microsoft, AWS, Medtronic, JJ, and Elekta. Simultaneously, we nurture regional ties, like the tailored partnership with Elekta's Africa team. These connections cater to diverse needs. Zooming in, we're actively engaged in collaborations with African entities. Noteworthy names include the Africa Development Bank, Afri Exim, and Standard Bank. Our involvement extends to financing, as seen with Access Bank. Particularly exciting is our engagement with Africa's health tech sector. We're dedicated to supporting local companies addressing African challenges. Our partnerships resonate with the unique nuances of communities and countries. This localized approach, driven by synergy with client and patient needs, forms the core of our strategy.
EF: Can you elaborate on how you are delivering value-based care through your partnership with Standard Bank?
EE: Our partnership with Standard Bank has yielded significant results. During the US Africa summit in the previous year. The goal is to expedite the adoption of advanced medical technologies and enhance healthcare services. Another notable initiative is the healthcare financing scheme program in Francophone Africa. This competitive program encourages private-sector healthcare providers to improve their infrastructure and services through accessible financing solutions. Collaboration with local Pan-African banks such as Access Bank fosters progress in regions like Nigeria. By offering subsidized financing in the form of loans, smaller to medium-sized healthcare providers gain access to vital equipment, contributing to the overall growth of healthcare services. These financing solutions are pivotal in fortifying the healthcare ecosystem, ensuring affordable and accessible funding to drive advancements and improve healthcare standards across the continent.
EF: Can you elaborate on how, as a global company, you are creating a local footprint?
EE: One of our key strengths lies in our deep investment in local talent across Africa. Our teams in Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, and other countries primarily consist of native professionals who intimately understand their communities. While we're global in scope, this local expertise empowers our success. This approach ensures that our employees, who often have personal ties to the regions they serve, are motivated by a genuine commitment to their communities. Their impact is driven by the desire to elevate healthcare standards where they live, grew up, and their families reside. A decade ago, I left the UK to contribute to healthcare advancements on the African continent, leveraging my African heritage. This shared purpose – working to enhance healthcare for our families, friends, and broader communities – fuels our dedication and success. It's a powerful driving force that adds deeper meaning to our endeavors.
EF: Shifting towards building strong teams, how are you attracting the local young talent?
EE: Retention of talent is a common challenge across industries. Skilled professionals are sought after, leading to immigration from emerging markets to North America and Europe. Kenya, for example, witnessed a trend of training nurses for export to countries like the UK. Our role as a company is to provide an environment where employees thrive. By fostering a positive culture, clear vision, and attractive work conditions, we create a space where individuals want to be part of our success stories. Our commitment to localizing leadership and engaging closely with customers bolsters our approach. While we continue to attract global talent, connecting with the regions where individuals have roots is equally vital. Many professionals of African descent are drawn to contribute to the countries of their heritage. This strategy ensures exceptional customer service and a strong sense of community impact.
EF: What role did your operations play in the group's success during the first two quarters of this year?
EE: Turning our attention to the Europe, Middle East, and Africa (MEA) region, it's undeniably a major player in global business. Our role here is significant, contributing to its collective success. Notably, the company is moving forward positively within six months and over two quarters. We're pleased with the current trajectory and performance, marking a promising outlook for the future.
Our growth trajectory is set to surpass market expectations. It's worth noting that the African healthcare market needs to be developed more than its potential. While we're positioned to outpace the market, the real opportunity lies in expanding the overall market itself. Bridging the infrastructure gap, with increased hospitals, beds, diagnostic centers, and specialized units, is vital to unlocking Africa's true healthcare potential. Notably, projections indicate that by 2030, Africa's healthcare market could become the second largest globally, only trailing behind the US. This rapid growth underscores the untapped potential. This presents a chance for GE HealthCare to grow within these burgeoning markets and contribute significantly to advancing healthcare outcomes and generating value for our company and shareholders.
EF: How do you sustain physician engagement and accessibility to the latest technological advancements?
EE: Our partnerships in education, ensure relevant training. For instance, our national initiative in Kenya included a training center, imparting knowledge to healthcare professionals on utilizing the government's invested equipment. This exemplifies our commitment to ongoing education within our deployments. We recognize the high turnover of public healthcare staff, often leaving Africa for other markets. To address this, we provide accessible digital tools for on-demand training and support, aiding continuous skill development.
On the clinical side, it's crucial to clarify our role. While we offer technology support, we're not directly involved in clinical decision-making. Instead, we emphasize the importance of holistic planning. Projects require a comprehensive approach, aligning technology, human resources, and infrastructure. Collaborating with stakeholders ensures a workforce strategy that complements the advancements we facilitate.
EF: What is your perspective on the role of digitalization in Africa, and what initiatives are you taking to implement digital health across the continent?
EE: To achieve universal healthcare coverage and access, embracing digitally enabled healthcare systems is essential, both in the public and private sectors. This approach is vital to bridging resource gaps and ensuring comprehensive care across diverse populations, including urban areas. Our involvement includes supporting national programs and collaborating with government ICT departments to connect hospitals and extend our solutions across various tools and geographic regions. We've also joined forces with medical technology leaders like AWS, Microsoft, and local African health tech players, facilitating cloud-based solutions. This collaborative ecosystem is driving digital advancements in healthcare infrastructure.
EF: Looking forward, how does GE HealthCare plan to sustain its resilience and customer-centric approach in an ever-changing landscape?
EE: Amidst the vast challenges, establishing a new culture and vision within a sizable organization like GE HealthCare is significant. We've navigated complexities and uncertainties while swiftly delivering for patients and customers. This achievement is amplified due to African macroeconomic dynamics, including inflation and geopolitical shifts. Despite turbulent waters marked by general elections, geopolitical disruptions, and economic fluctuations, our success is attributed to our dedicated teams and customer-centric approach. This year, against global and regional complexities, GE HealthCare's accomplishments resonate with resilience and adaptability, driven by our commitment to customer satisfaction.