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Algeria: Algeria Health Profile


Bensahli Medical Center

The Algerian pharmaceutical sales to have been DZD185.12bn (US$2.55bn) in 2009 and expects them to reach DZD208.56bn (US$2.84bn) in 2010. The market is characterised by a relatively low per-capita spend of US$73 (in 2009) and a large generics sector - 22% of total drug expenditure. We forecast pharmaceutical consumption growing to DZD295.54bn (US$4.22bn) by 2014, equivalent to a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 12.55% in local currency. Our long-term 10-year forecast is for the strong growth to continue, with the market reaching DZD407.14bn (US$5.82bn) in 2019.

The incidence of diabetes (especially type II) is on the rise in Algeria as both affluence and urbanisation increase. Official figures estimate that around 8% of Algerians suffer from the condition. Around 30,000 new cases of cancer are registered each year, although the country only has four specialist oncology centres. In January 2010, a conference on environmental health highlighted healthcare problems caused by various pollutants, calling for a national plan to tackle the issue.The Algerian pharmaceutical business is in important need of investment. Pharmaceuticals now  account for 0.008% of all exports but 4.5% of all imports. Algeria's import substitution legislation means drugs that can be manufactured in the country cannot be imported. Despite this, local firms are unable to meet local demand, leaving the market at risk of shortages, a situation several news reports have stated is becoming increasingly common. Currently, Algeria is not under pressure to diversify its exports due to its total trade surplus as a result of oil exports. However, the local industry's generic focus means it has immense potential to increase these exports. Algerian drugmakers are set to face increasing competition from firms in neighbouring Tunisia, which are increasing capacity, expanding and exporting to other African markets. This ramping up of exports in Tunisia could not come at a worse time for Algeria, with local manufacturers unable to meet even local demand. While the local market remains under-fulfilled, opportunities for local manufacturers may arise given the lack of any substantial government policies to promote and invest in the Algerian pharmaceutical sector. Tunisia will be more likely to attract foreign direct investment (FDI).

The number of healthcare staff increased in 2009. There is now one  general practitioner per 1 457 inhabitants, 1 specialist per 2 052 inhabitants, 1 pharmacist per 4 492 inhabitants, 1 dental surgeon per 3 241 inhabitants, and 1 paramedic per 370 inhabitants. The hospital infrastructure consists of 7 304 healthcare centres and 2 beds per 100 inhabitants. During the 2005-09 5-year plan, 778 new healthcare centres were opened, including 112 hospitals with between 60 and 240 beds each, 303 polyclinics and 80 treatment rooms.

For the 2009/­10 academic year there were nearly 10 000 additional places for paramedical training, and a healthcare management college, the École nationale de management et de l'administration de la santé, was set up to improve the management of healthcare centres and the maintenance of infrastructure and facilities, and to ensure good governance of the healthcare system. The Chifa smartcard introduced in 2008 continued to have good take-up in 2009 and will eventually be extended to everyone covered by public health insurance. The personalised card makes it possible to identify those covered by public health insurance, and their conditions and medical profiles to be accessed. Card holders can also obtain a quicker reimbursement of healthcare costs. The card facilitates better control of the name of medical products throughout the country and should encourage the use of generic drugs.

During the next five-year plan, the authorities are determined to promote greater hospital hygiene, reduced hospital waste and nosocomial infection, increased intake of women in labour into public maternity hospitals, a greater number of local and emergency healthcare centres, and the development of higher levels of care and ancillary services. The prevalence of HIV/AIDS remains low, and patients are provided with antiretroviral therapy. These efforts will be necessary to improve Algeria's Human Development Index, which according to the latest UNDP report placed Algeria 104th out of 182 countries. These efforts will also help to reduce maternal mortality, which despite falling slightly thanks to an increase in assisted births, remains high (92.6 deaths per 100 000 live births in 2006), and will enable the country to achieve all the MDGs by 2015.