Turkey Strengthens its Participation
İstanbul Chemicals and Chemical Products Exporters’ Association (IKMIB) takes active part in international organisations in order to sustain the professional ethics and cohesion of Turkish export companies in the chemicals industry, help increase export levels, diversify export products, help increase products' competitiveness, defend its members' rights and interests and help them form strong relationships in the international arena and support them to get into new markets. IKMIB is organising Turkey's national participation at Arab Health this year and Chairman of the Board Adil Peli̇ster discusses the involvement in detail.
1. Tell us about yourself. What are you showcasing at Arab Health 2020?
IKMIB provides great added value for our country by touching many areas with our raw materials from automotive to furniture, textiles, and food while contributing significantly to Turkey's exports and economy since 1991 with our 16 sub-sectors from plastic to cosmetics, rubber, pharmaceuticals and paint. With the valuable support of our Ministry of Commerce and Turkish Exporters Assembly, we proudly and effectively represent Turkish chemical industry in the business platforms in our country and around the world.
We are carrying out our activities in order to increase the competitive power and export of our companies in the healthcare sector, including pharmaceutical, medical and dental products, which are under the group of pharmaceutical products of our sub-sectors. The healthcare sector is an important sector in terms of providing high added value and Turkey’s export volume increases every year. In this context, as IKMIB, we follow both international fairs for the healthcare sector and organise workshops and informative seminars in which we present the results for their problems and solutions.
After a long break, IKMIB will again organise Turkey's national participation at Arab Health 2020. More than 180 Turkish companies participated in the fair held in 2019 and we hope that we will exceed this number in 2020. Our companies will introduce the products of the latest technology for the healthcare sector such as medical equipment and devices, disposable products, hospital management systems, consumables, hospital furniture, health tourism, information systems, surgical equipment, orthopaedic products and pharmaceuticals.
2. Connectivity for better healthcare delivery is the theme of Arab Health this year. What would you say is the current impact of connectivity on the delivery of healthcare?
As in all sectors, connectivity and digital transformation have become an important part of change and development in the healthcare sector. Today, robots can be used in surgery thanks to artificial intelligence. The data collected from patients, physicians and all institutions and organisations in the supply chain are analysed and used for accurate diagnosis and treatment of patients, while providing convenience to physicians and managers in managing the process as well as patient safety. Most importantly, it gives the opportunity to take measures against diseases that may develop based on the data provided, and the prevention of maltreatments and malpractices by correctly processing the data leads to a reduction in costs. Digital transformation has many benefits such as providing healthcare services to more points, enabling disadvantaged patients to benefit from new generation prostheses with technological infrastructure, and personalising healthcare service.
In Turkey, massive investments are being made in digitalisation, especially "E-Pulse" (aka.E-Nabız), within the last five years under the leadership of our Ministry of Health. Digital transformation develops as a natural process, and as it begins to transform, it is seen where there is a lack and what needs to be done. Turkey has serious infrastructure investments in this regard. As stated by our Ministry of Health, HIMSS is the largest organisation that sets standards in the healthcare sector all over the world. As of today, Turkey attained the second place in the world after the U.S. with its digitalisation success in the field of healthcare with 177 hospitals achieving HIMSS EMRAN stage 6 and 7. Turkey, which left Europe behind with this number, continues to hold the region leadership. Currently, 167 hospitals meet the HIMSS 6 standard in Turkey. In addition, 3 hospitals have the HIMSS 7 standard. We also have 7 Oral and Dental Health Hospitals that achieved stage 6 validation. In Europe, only 30 hospitals have the HIMSS 6 standard.
With the digital transformation system of our Ministry of Health, the entire process from the materials introduced into the market to the medicines used, the examination performed, and the treatment administered has become controllable. This provides the opportunity to see the future of the healthcare sector and to make the necessary interventions without delay. With mobile applications, you can now benefit from all services anywhere and more easily. If you are experiencing a weight problem, there are applications that alert you how many calories are in the food and beverages you consume. Or applications reminding you of what time and how many you need to take your medication.
From this point of view, those who can adapt to this digital age, which directly affects the development of healthcare sector, can play a major role in shaping the future.
3. What are your thoughts on the UAE’s healthcare industry? According to you, what are some of the current healthcare trends being seen in the region and what do you see as the growth areas going forward?
According to the data of our Ministry of Commerce, the UAE meets 90 per cent of its medical sector needs through imports. We know that the UAE government gives priority to improving the quality of services in the healthcare sector. Health expenditure per capita in the UAE is higher than in other Gulf countries. Over the next five years, total health expenditure is expected to increase by 17 per cent on average annually in local currency. Nevertheless, the share of health expenditures in national income is currently very low like 3.2 per cent. In developed countries, this rate is around 18 per cent. It is possible to say that the country needs comprehensive investment in the healthcare sector. Especially for hospital investments, medical equipment requirement is projected to be met through foreign project companies. In this regard, the UAE and Turkey can cooperate. Our Turkish companies can provide the essential medical equipment and become the supplier of the UAE. Within this context, we are of the opinion that export opportunities for UAE will increase.
4. What, according to you, are the opportunities available to healthcare and trade professionals who attend Arab Health?
Fairs contribute to the development of bilateral trade relations. Participants and visitors at Arab Health will have the opportunity to see the latest developments in the sector on site. At the same time, they will have the opportunity to cooperate with the world's leading companies. The fair will offer the opportunity for Turkish companies to introduce their high-quality products to the MENA countries. We believe that the fair will make a significant contribution in terms of transforming our export potential into actual export.
We are endeavouring to show the development of the Turkish healthcare sector to buyers with the Turkey Stand we set up in fairs. A buyer from any region in the world can easily reach dealers in Turkey via www.turkishhealthcare.org. We are expecting important collaborations at Arab Health 2020, which brings potential buyers and manufacturers together.
5. Could you shed light on your future plans.
We are continuing two separate clustering projects for the pharmaceutical and medical sectors. We simultaneously make procurement committee organisations for sectoral trade committee to Far East, South America and Africa and important national fairs. Holding pharmaceutical and medical committee meetings, we together discuss the problems and solutions of our sector. We organise pharmaceutical and medical workshops where sector stakeholders come together with the participation of all sector players. Here, we also try to find solutions to the needs and problems of our sector. In 2020, we will also organise the national participation of Turkey for AEEDC fair, which will be held the week after Arab Health. We are also planning to participate in FIME 2020 in the U.S. and Africa Health 2020 in South Africa. In addition to fair participation, we will continue to bring our exporters and buyers together at regional focal points and organise trade committees on site.