SAMED’s annual report has been published and outlines how SAMED managed – and grew and diversified in membership and stakeholder interactions – during the year which demanded responding to the pandemic and its dramatic impact on our members’ businesses. Our industry has been a key player in the provision of protective equipment and scale-up of testing and treatment capacity before and during the COVID waves, and was equally central to preparations and the rollout of mass vaccination since the closing months of 2020.

SAMED also took lessons from the pandemic, and going forward, we will continue to step up efforts to address imperatives such as a reliable supply of quality, safe, effective and locally relevant medtech, adequate capacity to regulate (in partnership with regulators) and procure these products, data collection and management tools for market surveillance and business/service planning and capacity to ramp up the use of digital technology for engagements with key stakeholders and customers.

In light of the over-pricing, fraud and corruption related to PPE and other COVID response essentials, SAMED communicated its determined stance against corruption and other unethical practices related to medtech and the health sector more broadly. Strengthening of the Code, speaking out against corruption and participation in the Health Sector Anti-Corruption Forum feed into all other activities and underpins SAMED’s objective to support anti-corruption initiatives and mechanisms and enforce the Medical Device Code as a means to identify and eliminate fraud and corruption.

Beyond the front-row in the pandemic response, a serious obstacle to health service provision and product support was the prohibition on member companies’ representatives visiting hospitals and being present in surgery to advise on the use of complex devices. SAMED spent considerable time negotiating with hospital groups on acceptable conditions for access by representatives.

Our responsibility for healthcare worker and patient safety is one of the tenets of SAMED and our members. Through our association with B4SA, we have contributed to the policy on the national vaccine initiative and assisted our members to ensure that the relevant employees – especially representatives who enter clinical settings – are included in the phase 1B of the vaccine rollout.

We worked steadily in this difficult year to inspire and guide members in the quest for a transformed, diversified industry. The themes and sentiments that describe our work this year speak to altruism, ethics, accountability, collaboration, solidarity and skills-sharing. They position our sector as a powerful partner in achieving health-related as well as broader socio-economic goals and focus us on several priorities for the year ahead – including the pursuit of government recognition for the Code, the Data Integrity Initiative, support for the COVID vaccine rollout particularly as it pertains to SAMED members and National Health Insurance.