The medical device development landscape in South Africa: Institutions, sectors and collaboration

Research Article
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30 May 2017

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A characterisation of the medical device development landscape in South Africa would be beneficial for future policy developments that encourage locally developed devices to address local healthcare needs. The landscape was explored through a bibliometric analysis (2000–2013) of relevant scientific papers using co-authorship as an indicator of collaboration. Collaborating institutions thus found were divided into four sectors: academia (A); healthcare (H); industry (I); and science and support (S). A collaboration network was drawn to show the links between the institutions and analysed using network analysis metrics. Centrality measures identified seven dominant local institutions from three sectors. Group densities were used to quantify the extent of collaboration: the A sector collaborated the most extensively both within and between sectors; local collaborations were more prevalent than international collaborations. Translational collaborations (AHI, HIS or AHIS) are considered to be pivotal in fostering medical device innovation that is both relevant and likely to be commercialised. Few such collaborations were found, suggesting room for increased collaboration of these types in South Africa.


bibliometrics; co-authorship; social network analysis; translational collaboration; foreign influence
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