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New Zealand Billion-dollar Medical Device Sector Resilient And Inventive In Triple Emergencies

New Zealand’s $1.5 billion medical technology sector has proved resilient and inventive in the face of three major national emergencies (Christchurch Mosques Attack, Whakaari/White Island eruption and the COVID-19 pandemic).

To mark this success and to highlight the agility and humanity of the sector, the Medical Technology Association of New Zealand will launch its new digital publication “New Zealand MedTech in Action – Innovation and Partnership key to triple emergency response” at an event in Auckland tomorrow. MTANZ is the only national industry body representing medical technology companies in NZ.

MTANZ CEO Faye Sumner, CNZM says the organisation will acknowledge the huge effort of the medical supply companies in the face of three major emergencies and recognise the vital and critical role they play in the NZ healthcare system.

Ms Sumner says she heard so many stories of people in her industry going above and beyond to support the healthcare sector in times of high drama during the past couple of years.

“We decided to capture some of the stories in an online booklet to acknowledge their efforts and those of the healthcare professionals on the frontline,” she comments.

In the past two years, NZ has experienced the Christchurch Mosques Attack, the Whakaari/White Island eruption, and the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic.

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“In each of these emergencies, the NZ medical technology companies swung into action to ensure critical medical supplies arrived at the right place, at right time, for the right patient.”

She explains that, given NZ’s distant geographical position and 95 percent imported medical supplies for domestic use, there are considerable challenges to ensure an uninterrupted supply of vital medical devices in NZ.

“We heard many tales of people driving through the night and making themselves available at all hours, or even on Christmas Eve, to respond to the calls from healthcare professionals for devices, wound dressings, testing kits, ventilators, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and advice.

“We should recognize and acknowledge the passion and commitment our MTANZ members displayed during these unprecedented medical emergencies. The challenges were compounded by NZ’s closed borders during the COVID-19 response.

“Supply of medical products via airfreight is crucial in our global supply chain along with securing critical medical supplies when the world was panic-buying. The situation resulted in our member companies being under enormous pressure to deliver.

“What we have learned from these past couple of years is the need to rethink our global supply chains and respond with ‘just-in-case’ to ensure NZ can meet any further medical emergencies. No doubt there will be another disaster (natural or medical) for NZ to manage at some time and New Zealand medical supply companies will be expected to respond instantly to the needs of healthcare system.

“Our industry will be essential in any forward disaster planning with the government and we look forward to bringing our industry expertise and knowledge of the medical global supply chain to the discussions,” says Ms Sumner.


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