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    Fighting Malaria with Locally-procured Products


    © International Trade Centre, International Trade Forum - Issue 4/2001

    Malaria is one of the world's most devastating public health problems. According to WHO, there are about 300 to 500 million cases each year and nearly 90% occur in Africa. In October 1998, WHO, UNICEF, UNDP and the World Bank launched the Roll Back Malaria initiative (RBM) which aims to halve the number of cases of the disease by 2010.

    Using mosquito nets, curtains and other materials treated with insecticides can provide significant protection against malaria. As part of its prevention efforts, the RBM initiative will distribute 32 million nets and treatments kits each year. As a result of this initiative, there is a growing demand for locally produced mosquito nets and curtains. An estimated six million nets per year are manufactured in Africa. The United Republic of Tanzania and Cameroon currently export nets made of man-made textiles, while Togo, Kenya and South Africa export nets manufactured with other textile materials. Meanwhile, Senegal is a major net exporter of insecticides.

    The case of the United Republic of Tanzania provides a good example where government policy can have a major impact on both fighting a deadly disease and private-sector development. In 1994, the Government abolished a 100% sales tax on ready-made nets. This created a significant rise in demand and to meet it, the number of net manufacturers rose from one in 1994 to three in 2000. Between them they produce 2.3 million nets annually; 1.58 million are sold in Tanzania and the rest are exported.

    Paul Baker is a trade analyst working with ITC. He can be contacted at baker@intracen.org