Peru's Health Sector Opportunities
Fundamental weaknesses in Peru’s healthcare sector, exposed during the pandemic, present significant opportunities for supportive technological innovations.
Peru was one of the hardest hit countries in South America during the Corona Virus pandemic, leading the world in deaths per capita with more than 500 deaths per 100,000 people.
Peru’s Ministry of Health (MINSA) reported that that 78% of first-level hospitals and medical treatment centers have an inadequate state of infrastructure and equipment. In 2018, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), warned that Peru has only 12.8 doctors for every 10,000 inhabitants, a figure well below the average of 33 for every 10,000 people. According to a report published by the World Economic Forum, “Governments must reimagine the provision of health services because of the pandemic. Telemedicine can be a large part of the response both now and in the post-pandemic world”.
Peru has the potential to capitalize on this phenomenon as there are 40 million cell phones in the country, many of them with video calling capabilities, thus allowing for roll out of massive telemedicine services. During the 2020 COVID crisis, and with the help of technology, healthcare professionals from Ministry of Health carried out 14,013,689 telemedicine appointments nationwide.
Dr. Juan Rodríguez Abad, Healthcare Professor at ESAN University in Peru stated that, “There is a wide variety of projects for the substantial improvement of healthcare that must include significant technological innovations”. The key to recovery is improving management of investments while taking advantage of recent digital trends. For example, currently there are 2,441 health establishments incorporated in Peru’s National Telehealth Network, providing tele-health services, remote health management, remote information dissemination, education and training to foster healthy lifestyles and strengthen the capabilities of health personnel. Alafarpe, Peru’s Association of Pharmaceutical Laboratories, points out that systems for electronic prescriptions and electronic medical records, among others, should also be pursued. Use of these systems has not kept up to demand and, furthermore, the related implementation of appropriate standards, installation of technological infrastructure and training will still be necessary.
Peru’s post-Covid world presents a unique opportunity to close the exposed gaps and modernize Peru’s hospitals, clinics, and health centers. With the approval of Legislative Decree No. 1490, the scope of Telehealth has been strengthened and teleconsultation has now been implemented. It is good a start but there is a long way to go and U.S. producers of related telemedicine goods and services have a role to play.
For more information on healthcare and the Peruvian market, please contact Commercial Specialist, Gustavo Romero, at firstname.lastname@example.org.