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Pristem affordable radiology thrives in South Africa

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A few months ago, Pristem’s South African subsidiary opened its first state-of-the-art, affordable radiology center in the township of Alexandra. The Swiss medtech is due to open a second one in Soweto this month, and has big plans for the future.



Through its Open Diagnostics brand, Pristem is on a mission to provide South Africa’s underserved communities with modern affordable X-ray facilities. The Swiss startup inaugurated its first center in November 2023 in the township of Alexandra, in the presence of the Gauteng Minister of Health and Welfare. Gauteng is South Africa’s most populous region, with over 16 million inhabitants. The opening was particularly well received by the local authorities. Speaking of the impact of the centers, the Minister says:

“In townships like Alexandra, access to quality healthcare has long been a challenge. Our residents have had to travel long distances, often in discomfort and pain, to access basic diagnostic services. The opening of this X-ray center changes that narrative by bringing vital medical services closer to our community, reducing travel time and costs, and most importantly, ensuring quicker diagnosis and treatment.”

“X-ray imaging is a critical tool in modern medicine. It aids in the diagnosis of various conditions, from broken bones to more complex diseases like tuberculosis, which unfortunately remains a significant health concern in our community. Early and accurate diagnosis is key to effective treatment, and with this facility, we are bringing that capability right to our doorstep.”

Doctors are also very satisfied with the service,” says Pristem CEO Lars Beykirch. The turnaround time for a diagnostic report is currently 35 minutes on average. From the time the patient enters the center to the time the diagnostic report is returned to the referring physician, it takes 35 minutes. Patients are also satisfied with the quality of service and the way they are welcomed into the center.

To manage its new radiology centers, Pristem has created its own Open Diagnostics brand in South Africa. To this end, it has established a partnership with a group of local radiologists who provide diagnostic reports. In South Africa, only 7 to 8 million people benefit from private health insurance through their employer. There are 16 million people who work but have no insurance.

These people must pay out-of-pocket for the medical services they need. People who can’t afford to pay for their services generally go to public hospitals, which are unfortunately overcrowded and offer poor service. Currently, 25% of Pristem patients pay in cash and 75% are covered by medical aid.

Ambitious growth plans

The second Open Diagnostics center will open in Soweto at the end of March. The growth strategy for the next 24 months is to open a further 40-50 centers in South Africa. The company is currently raising funds to finance this expansion.

Pristem also intends to penetrate new markets, including in Africa. “We’re starting to talk to countries in East Africa about offering our services there” says Lars Beykirch. Pristem has a team of 15 people in Switzerland and 12 in South Africa.



Text : Eugène Schön