Rob Katz

Malaria – From A to Z, at Long Last

Another ?in case you missed it? entry, this time about Tanzanian A to Z’s long-lasting malaria net enterprise mentioned in blog posts and activity capsules past. The nets–as well as the underlying for-profit business model–are featured in a nice column by the Guardian’s Jon Snow. Excerpts:

The source of malarial relief is the A to Z plastics factory in Arusha. The revolutionary net is being produced here on a truly dramatic scale. The net is made of extruded resin sold at market price by Exxon Mobil. Hardly at the forefront of altruistic repute, Exxon too is a member of the global partnership to “Roll Back Malaria”. The money it makes from the Saudi-produced resin, Exxon gives back to Unicef to buy more nets, to try to create a mosquito net market. Sumitomo hasn’t given money. Instead it has made a free technology transfer of the secret ingredient that gives the net its long-life properties… Anuj Shah, who runs the company, is no do-gooder [either]. He’s in it for profit and is determined that net making in Africa is a seriously commercial activity. Currently producing 3m of these nets a year, he expects his new factory, which is under construction nearby, to start producing 7m a year by April. After that he hopes to expand to 20m – a tenth of Africa’s entire need.

Upshot: here’s a good example of the hybrid model at work to address a basic public health (and Millennium Development Goal) concern: malaria. I?ll resist the urge to tell A to Z to sell the nets, since they?re using a combination of donor and private sector logic. Hey–whatever works is fine with me. If only the private sector would come out and blast the corrupt practices hampering such projects…

Via PSD Blog