by Mahmoud Fouly
CAIRO, June 9 (Xinhua) -- Local, regional and global medical companies showcased their latest products, services and innovations at the second edition of Africa Health ExCon, the largest healthcare exhibition in Africa, aiming to explore the great potential and opportunities in the African market.
Themed "Your Gate to Innovation and Trade," the just-concluded four-day expo at the Egypt International Exhibition Center in the capital Cairo gathered hundreds of exhibitors from around 90 countries, including Egypt, the United States, Germany, France, Russia, Japan, Saudi Arabia and China.
"Through participating in Africa Health ExCon, we are keen to tell African countries that Egypt produces medical supplies with a globally competitive quality," Ahmed Salah, an Egyptian exhibitor, told Xinhua.
Beijing-based Star Sports Medicine, another Chinese participant, displayed a variety of sports medicine instruments primarily used in clinical procedures, such as sutures and threads, limb-positioning devices, and tibial fixation buttons.
Medical conferences and workshops planned on the sideline of the expo attracted flocks of health professionals including physicians, medical engineers, hospital operators and even medical students.
Mariam Abdullah Mahmoud, a Somalian studying medicine at Egypt's Ain Shams University, said she came to the expo "to see how medicine has progressed on our continent."
"The exhibition provides a platform for African health professionals to interact, connect, unite, and exchange and share knowledge to improve healthcare in Africa," she added.
As for Ahmed El-Aref, an Egyptian medical engineer and owner of a medical equipment maintenance company, the fair provided a window into "the latest technologies in medical devices" and a good opportunity to foster business ties.
Among the participants were also some global medical giants such as Germany's Siemens and France's Thuasne.
Thuasne featured a number of orthopedic braces and medical compression garments, including knee supports, dynamic ankle-foot orthoses, lumbar belts, and wrist splints.
"We come to this event to find new distributors and partners in Egypt and Africa," Laurent Ponsard, Thuasne's area sales manager for the Middle East and Africa, told Xinhua.
"I am quite pleased with the large number of visitors. We also see big companies participating, which is a good sign indicating that the market here is dynamic," Ponsard said.
The event was mainly organized by the Egyptian Authority for Unified Procurement, Medical Supply, and the Management of Medical Technology, known as UPA.
Mary Kirollos, director of UPA's Central Administration of Health Technology Management, stressed that Egypt is committed to playing a positive role in the healthcare sector in Africa.
"Egypt seeks to make the expo an annual hub where the healthcare firms and institutions can meet, communicate and exchange trade, knowledge and technology," the UPA official said.