Saudi-built ventilators: A testimony of success of kingdom’s industrial sector

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has recently unveiled the first domestically built ventilators with more than 48% local content.

The Puritan Bennett (PB) 560 portable ventilator was built by Riyadh-based Rowad Technology, which aims to produce at least 6,000 units annually.

According to Rowad Technology, the ventilators are built with international specifications, in cooperation with the world’s leading medical devices manufacturers.

The launching ceremony was attended by Minister of Industry and Mineral Resources, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the National Center for Industrial Development Bandar Al-Khorayef, Minister of Health Dr Tawfiq Al-Rabiah, and the advisor at the Royal Court and General Supervisor of the King Salman Center for Relief and Humanitarian Action, Dr Abdullah Al-Rabeeah.

This comes in line with the Kingdom’s plan to localize medical industries and achieve self-sufficiency in basic medical industries and health security for Saudi Arabia.

The PB 560 ventilators are a portable device, and they are widely used in-home care, health care centres and hospitals for patients who do not require endotracheal intubation.

The localization of these ventilators will help stimulate the relevant local supply chains; Including electronics and electromechanical parts, as well as plastic industries.

The Minister of Industry and Mineral Resources said: “We are proud today to record a qualitative achievement that joins the continuous achievements of our dear country, by launching the first industrial respirator with international specifications, manufactured with pride in Saudi Arabia.”

He stressed that “this achievement is evidence of the advancement of our industry to new levels, in light of the support, which was presented by the industry sector under the generous guidance of the leadership through various initiatives that had a major role in overcoming the difficulties that faced the sector.”

Furthermore, Al-Khorayef stressed that the presence of a strong industrial base in Saudi Arabia, which was able to respond to the demand for ventilators in the kingdom, as it still faces the coronavirus pandemic.

“This important step comes at a time when the world is facing great challenges in light of the continuing repercussions of the coronavirus pandemic, and the effects it has on daily supply chains, and basic necessities, especially in the field of health care, where the emergence of the pandemic contributed to making Industry development plans are working at an accelerating pace in several priority sectors,” he added.

The minister stressed that “the measures taken by the Kingdom in dealing with coronavirus pandemic were admired and appreciated by international organizations and institutions, and this was accompanied by a rapid response of national factories to provide medical supplies and cover the higher demand for them.

He added that the complementary efforts of different stakeholders in both industry and health sectors were behind this achievement. This includes the Saudi Ministry of Health, the Saudi Food & Drug Authority (SFDA), the Local Content and Government Procurement Authority, and the private sector, which felt the responsibility to play an active role in this aspect.

The Saudi Minister of Health said that the medical device industry is one of the complex and advanced industries, especially ventilators; due to its direct contact with the patient,” noting that “the ministry is always keen to keep pace with the latest international technologies in the field of medical devices.”

He stressed that the ministry is striving to achieve the Saudi Vision 2030, in cooperation with the Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources, the Local Content and Government Procurement Authority and the relevant authorities, through supporting and encouraging national companies and factories to localize the medical device industries.

Rowad Technology obtained SFDA approval after fulfilling the regulatory requirements to be able to manufacture the first PB 560 ventilators in the Kingdom.

Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, the National Center for Industrial Development has received many requests to manufacture ventilators locally.

The National Center for Industrial Development has worked on the design of a platform to help specialists provide the necessary technical advice and coordinate with the relevant authorities to determine the most appropriate localization paths through self-development or manufacturing through open-source designs, or finding a partner from one of the expertise houses.

The centre received nine ventilators prototypes submissions, of which Rowad Technology obtained permission, other factories are working very seriously to obtain the necessary licenses to start production operations.

Saudi medical devices market is expected to grow rapidly

Saudi Arabia’s medical devices market is forecasted to grow rapidly over the upcoming five years, according to a recent report by TechSci Research.

The report said that initiatives introduced by the Saudi authorities to provide reimbursements for availing healthcare facilities and the use of medical devices for better results play a major role in boosting the growth of the medical devices sector in the kingdom.

Access to healthcare facilities is considered a basic right in Saudi Arabia which is a major reason for the ever-increasing demand to avail healthcare facilities across the Kingdom.

Moreover, the report indicated that the rising preference of consumers for the adoption of self and home-based treatments is increasing at a rapid pace. This comes as technological advancements in medical devices continue, including the adoption of glucose monitoring devices, insulin delivery devices and oxygen concentrators have led to the adoption of diagnosis and treatment from the comfort of homes.

Medical devices including, electrocardiograms (ECG), pacemakers, and others have witnessed rapid developments which raised their efficiency. Also, the report reveals that the emergence of 3D technology for the treatment of orthopaedic is fostering the growth of the devices in Saudi Arabia.

According to TechSci Research, the introduction of new devices with improved performance is boosting the growth of the Saudi medical devices market.

“Saudi Arabia medical devices market is projected to grow at a formidable rate in the next five years on account of growing geriatric population in the country, technological advancements and increased focus of government on healthcare sector by launch of vision 2030 and national transformation program (NTP). Increased private and public sector investment in healthcare and plan of Ministry of Health (MoH) to construct 35 hospitals is expected to positively influence the medical devices market,” said Karan Chechi, Research Director with TechSci Research, a research-based global management consulting firm.

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