Buy More and Better Bednets for the Money, Says New Report

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

On World Malaria Day, with Médecins Sans Frontières reporting a crisis in the Democratic Republic of Congo which has seen an upsurge of cases of the disease overwhelm the available response (see MSF’s account here) and general concern about the rise of resistance to antimalarials and the shrinking of resources, here is a bit of hopeful news. A new report from the Results for Development Institute suggests there are ways to save and reinvest badly needed funds, by getting better value for money out of the bednets distributed in endemic areas.

Over the next five years, say author Kanika Bahl and colleagues, smarter purchasing strategies could save an amazing $630 million. That’s not for sending back to generous donor nations, of course. It could be used to buy 150 million more bednets, protecting 300 million people from the mosquitoes that spread the disease.

Until now, in the rush to get enough long-lasting insecticide-impregnated bednets to enough people, there has been no careful thinking about the sorts of nets that work best. So, says Bahl, their investigation found some 200 variants, including oversized and over-packaged nets which offered no special advantages. Of these, there were just 25 that were commonly purchased.

Reducing that fragmentation of the market to include only those nets offering the best value for money would save some $290 million in itself, says the report, without removing choice. the report identifies over 70 nets that balance cost and usage benefits. That helps buyers and it helps manufacturers, who understand better what is needed.

And then there is the competition on price, which is the biggest driver in an open market. Bahl says in bednets, that is a problem.

Source: The Guardian (link opens in a new window)

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