Incontinence Market of West Africa: an overview - Santex S.p.A.

Consumption of disposable incontinence products is increasing worldwide, due to aging populations, consumer education, better product offers and government healthcare policies.There is also a growing recognition that it affects a wide range of people and ages for various reasons and levels of intensity.

Revenue from the global disposable incontinence products market is expected to expand at a CAGR of 4.4% over the forecast period (2016–2024) and reach a value of $12,250.8 million by 2024 (source Persistence Market Research (PMR)).Global retail sales, which exclude supply to healthcare institutions, rose 8.1 per cent to $7.2bn in 2015, while retail sales in Western Europe rose 8.2 per cent to $1.6bn. In the Middle East and Africa, sales increased 8.7 per cent to $92.2m (Source: Financial Times)

Growth in the global market is not even: mature markets, such as Western Europe, Japan and North America, hold a large share in the diaper market. Asia Pacificis also expected to be an attractive market in terms of opportunities for disposable incontinence products manufacturers during the forecast period.However, due to increasing disposable income, the developing countries are likely to experience a considerable growth in the coming years.

Emerging countries such as Brazil, South Africa, and Argentina has a potential growth opportunity for incontinence market owing to the huge population base of incontinent patients and limited access to such products and the associated healthcare facilities. The Middle-East countries such as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain owing to their highest diabetes prevalence rates, are anticipated to emerge as one of the potential markets for incontinence products. (source: Global Market Insights)

What about West Africa Region?

Santex SpA together with a local area business partners will take part to the next Medic West Africa 2017 exhibition,the premier B2B healthcare platform in the region, hosting more than 4,500 healthcare professionals and medical laboratory professionals from across West Africa.

The exhibition takes place from 11 – 13 October 2017 at the Landmark Centre, Lagos, Nigeria.

We have asked Emmanuel Boamah, COO of La Prima-vera Marketing in Ghana, to share his views on the current incontinence market trends in West Africa and on future developments.

What is the structure of the continence market in your Country and what are the opportunities?

The usage of adult diapers (briefs and pull-ups) can be divided by two main group of people: on one hand, the expats (Ghanaians who have resided or still reside in Europe, North America, Australia, Asia), on the other hand, the natives still living in Ghana.  The first group of people make use of incontinence briefs and pull-ups for everyday living to feel that extra comfort while they suffer continence issues, and of course, when they are bedridden. The natives use them mostly only when they are forced to be in hospital beds or at home: they still do not conceive that a person can safely use a diaper as he usually goes down the street and carry on an ordinary life.

This situation shows a good opportunity for manufacturers and those distributors who are facing the market for the first time. There is a large gap to fill as people in Ghana and WA are not so used to buy such medical disposables. Sometimes people simply is not used to spend money for such products and so the cost seems too high for them, but many times they seem quite ashamed to let others see that they need such medical devices. 

We have recently commenced to see adult diapers in the malls while in the popular street shops we mainly see second grade products without a steady supply. In those street shops, the brands change continuously and sometimes the product is missing. The sale of continence-care products is growing slowly also into the pharmacies.

I would like to make another consideration. African women bear on average more children than European or American women; we know that pregnancies can lead to forms of light incontinence, so I see good opportunities for women to be more comfortable with using light incontinence devices and, consequently, I think that such products will have more and more a growing distribution in WA. At the same time, I see an opportunity for absorbent pads that could easily replace the annoying vaginal buffers that are still used in maternity hospitals. Underpads are mainly used in same hospitals at birth and are one of the most requested items.



What are the biggest hurdles to the distribution/sale of incontinence products?

There are many obstacles, but the first is a kind of “psychological limitation”. Most natives think the usage of adult briefs is only for the sick, and people accept such conditions only when they are forced to stay in bed. Here advertisement can have a good impact in reshaping the mental approach to the product. Very little has been done in this respect. In general, I can say that WA is a market where there is a great potential demand, but access to the product is limited. The question is that probably still few European manufacturers believe in this market (even if we see a certain trend reversal). This fact entails a great deal of energy to talk about the product, promote it, and, as already said, advertise and accustom the people’s mentality to buy it without being ashamed.

What was the greatest development that contributed to market share growth?

I can explain what happens in Ghana, as I am Ghanaian. The return of many Ghanaians living abroad who are now returning home helps to reshape the mentality. Then, in most public hospitals relatives of the sick person are asked to take care of cleaning and tiding of the kin as nurses limit the assistance to the administration of drugs. As a results, the use of incontinence briefs for the bedridden is almost a must as it helps (who are not expert in handling the sick people) to keep a clean bed all of the time and also facilitate cleaning.

How much current trends will help shape the market in the near future?

More players are moving into the West African market. As such, we trust very soon they will engage in informational and educational advertisement on the hygienic and comfort reasons to use the incontinence briefs; so the perception that it is only for the sick and bedridden will change. This change of mind-set, I believe, can mean tremendous growth in the usage of them.

People at Santex firmly believe that incontinence market is not all about selling diapers. It is much more. It means educating  professionals and customers, and ultimately providing a real caregiving system management.

Santex wil look forward to meeting new business partners during Medic West Africa.

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