14 December 2010

Bed Nets For and By Africans?

A new paper by Hassan Masum, Ronak Shah, Karl Schroeder, Abdallah S Daar, and Peter A Singer takes a look at Africa's largest producer of long-lasting insecticide-treated bed nets: A to Z Textiles.
With a production capacity of 30 million LLINs per year, and full WHOPES (WHO Pesticide Evaluation Scheme) certification, A to Z Textiles demonstrates how key health goods can be successfully produced in the low-income countries that use them. Its example may be instructive and of high interest to readers in the malaria community, especially in developing countries, and to those who wish to support or partner with efforts by developing countries to build their health innovation capacity.
If we take the findings to be correct, the follow up is to determine what the transition would look like to these bednets being produced by Africans and for Africans.  Personally, I would love to see industry grow within the region, but wonder how companies which already produce bed nets would view the change.

This makes me wonder; are the failures experienced by Edun (aka Bono's clothing line) anecdotal or indicative of the need to continue to improve the industrial capacity of the region?  If there is need for improvement, how can A to Z Textiles bridge this gap?

HT @theCJMview
Photo Credit Kim Ludbrook/EPA