Impetus is being provided with domestic manufacturers partnering with foreign companies for local market conditions.

The 21st century's increase in advanced maternal age, induced fertility, labor treatments, and lifestyle choices have given rise to a huge boom in the number of newborn infants born with various diseases. Resulting prenatal care, balanced nutrition, and appropriate medical attention are more imperative than ever for a healthy pregnancy and birth. Fetal and neonatal care equipment are vital tools to reaching these aims, and are being used with increasing frequency for the prevention and evaluation of diseases in and the prenatal and postnatal care of newborn infants.

The global fetal and neonatal care equipment market stood at USD 5.51 billion in 2015, with the demand being the highest in the Americas, followed by EMEA (Europe, Middle-East, and African countries) and APAC (Asia-Pacific countries), respectively. According to Technavio, the market will record a CAGR of 7 percent by 2020.{mosimage}

Rising awareness among population in developing nations about neonatal and fetal care, growing number of NICU admissions and inflow of technologically advanced products are driving the growth of the fetal and neonatal care equipment market. In addition, factors such as increasing prevalence of hospital, acquired infections in newborn babies and huge patient populations of preterm and low-weight-birth babies in both developed and developing markets demand for neonatal care equipment, which is further stimulating the growth of the market. Poor accessibility toward proper neonatal care in the developing regions and decreasing birth rate in certain developed countries are some of the factors restraining the growth of the market.

The global fetal and neonatal care equipment market may broadly be categorized into two segments, fetal (labor and delivery) care equipment and neonatal care equipment. The fetal (labor and delivery) care equipment market includes ultrasound devices, fetal doppler, fetal magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) systems, fetal monitors (further classified into antepartum/external fetal monitors and intrapartum/internal fetal monitors), and fetal pulse oximeters. The neonatal care equipment market includes infant warmers, incubators, convertible warmers and incubators, phototherapy equipment, respiratory devices, and neonatal monitoring devices. Phototherapy equipment segment is divided into conventional phototherapy and fiber-optic phototherapy. Respiratory devices are classified into neonatal ventilators, CPAP devices, oxygen analyzers and monitors, resuscitators, and others (including, apnea monitor, oxygen hood, nasal masks, feeding tubes, and nasal cannula). Neonatal monitoring devices segment may be categorized into blood pressure monitors, cardiac monitors, pulse oximeters, capnographs, and integrated monitoring devices.

The neonatal care equipment market held the largest share of the global fetal (labor and delivery) and neonatal care equipment market in 2015. Increasing prevalence of hospital-acquired infections in newborn babies and huge patient populations of preterm and low-weight-birth babies in both developed and developing markets are stimulating the growth of the neonatal care equipment market. However, the fetal (labor and delivery) care equipment market is estimated to grow at a high CAGR from 2015 to 2020.

In terms of key player competition, the global fetal and neonatal monitoring devices market is fragmented due to existence of multiple small and large players. In 2015, GE Healthcare, BD, Philips Healthcare, Drägerwerk, and Fisher and Paykel Healthcare were the top market-leading companies. Some of the other major players in the global fetal and neonatal monitoring devices market include Draeger Medical, SpaceLabs Healthcare, Masimo, BabyBeat, Utah Medical Products, Analogic, Welch Allyn, Summit Doppler (Wallach), and notable smaller players such as SonoTrax, Nonin, Nellcor, etc.

Indian Scenario

neonatal-equipment

India is becoming an attractive market for neonatal equipment, driving a number of players to enter the segment. Distributors are partnering with a number of global manufacturers and importing high-endproducts. Market players are undercutting prices to win tenders and are reducing margins to drive volumes. Rivalry among industry players is expected to harden up along with the growing market as companies cut margins to win contracts and invest in ingenious products. Domestic manufacturers are partnering with foreign companies for technology transfer and indigenizing the products for local market conditions.

The market is dominated by multinational companies in the premium segment and domestic players in the low-cost segment.

Certain hospitals are extending the application of universal ventilators to infant care as well instead of investing in dedicated neonatal and infant care ventilators.

Although Indian neonatal equipment market is witnessing significant growth since the past few years, there are also many challenges faced by the industry. Following are some of the issues affecting the Indian neonatal equipment market.

Service and repair is one the major challenges faced by neonatal equipment consumers across India and across customer segments. Most of the neonatal equipment manufacturers frequently fail in delivering timely and productive after-sales service and repair (including spares availability) for the customers. Many a time, customers face very challenging situations in dealing with service, repair, and spares availability issues.

Market trends. The last decade has seen a tremendous growth of neonatal infant care unit (NICUs) in India. Traditional equipment including baby warmers, incubators, phototherapy units, ventilators, and pulse oximeters continue to be the backbone of basic neonatal intensive care. Various advances, which make these systems baby- and doctor-friendly, have been incorporated in the last few years.

There is a substantial market for combined devices, especially for infant incubators with radiant warmers, phototherapy systems with radiant warmers, and transport incubators with the capabilities of a mobile NICU. Hospitals are demanding technologically improved and sophisticated devices, which include hybrid warming devices that can be configured as open or closed incubators, and double-walled incubators.

Fetal imaging is one of the fastest-developing radiology fields. Improved ultrasound technologies including high-resolution linear transducers, advanced doppler, and 3-D capabilities, have enabled earlier and more accurate fetal evaluations. Faster MRI sequences can obtain high-resolution images in multiple planes, revolutionizing the ability to examine and care for the developing fetus. The increased popularity of fetal MRI and help in completing the diagnosis of complex or large anomalies in the fetus is one of the major emerging trends in the fetal and neonatal equipment market.

The high cost of bag-and-mask newborn resuscitator devices resulted in a lack of availability and accessibility of resuscitators in the public sector in developing countries including India. Advanced resuscitators are now suitable for effective ventilation for infrequent users in low-resource settings, which have fewer parts and cost less than the current standard resuscitators.

Innovative methods including the intubation-surfactant-extubation (INSURE) technique, newer modes of ventilation, stringent aseptic measures, and improved control of nosocomial sepsis are contributing to significantly improved survival among preterm babies. New equipment including infant resuscitators; techotherm and miracradle used in the management of hypoxemic birth injury; and nitric oxide systems for babies who cannot be managed on traditional and high-frequency ventilators are expected to grow manifold, especially in tertiary care centers.

Government Initiatives. To improve neonatal care, the government strengthened 2706 referral hospitals to act as first referral units (FRUs), 13,667 PHCs/CHCs to provide 24×7 services, 14,441 newborn care corners (NBCCs), 575 special newborn care units (SNCUs), and 2020 newborn stabilization units (NBSUs) under the National Health Mission (NHM) in 2015. The focus of this aspect could be more on equipping beds at NICUs wards with properly functioning equipment before increasing the number of beds.

In another move, to bridge the gap between underserved urban poor and those in rural areas, the government has launched India Newborn Action Plan. Though it is a right step in the right direction with the aim of ending preventable newborn and stillbirths by 2030, but a strong public-private partnership and prioritization is needed to achieve better neonatal care.

Recently, the government has been positive on increasing neonatal care in the country but more concrete steps need to be taken to even out the success. Along with increase in the resources and healthcare delivery system, radical transformation of traditional technologies should be focused upon, if the country is to achieve the government's vision of assuring Health for All.


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