Android, iPhone, or Windows Phone? As a consumer, you’ve probably had access to myriad sources of information ranging from product reviews to retail comparison websites, among others, to inform your choice of which phone represents the best value for your
At the moment, there is no such information when it comes to purchasing long-lasting insecticide-treated nets (LLINs), those life-saving products that have, over the past decade, helped reduce malaria-related death rates by 25 percent. Since LLIN shoppers
don’t have reliable product information, they don’t always get the best nets for their money.
From 2004 to 2011, annual net distribution grew exponentially from 5 million to 130 million, yet few net users actually shop for them.
shown that charging even nominal fees for nets drops demand for LLINs nearly to zero among the poor in Africa who live on less than $1.25 per day.
So it’s the public sector that conducts more than 90 percent of LLIN shopping on behalf of poor consumers. With the financial support of three main donor organizations, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the U.S. President's Malaria
Initiative, and the World Bank, Ministries of Health in malaria-affected countries purchase the majority of LLINs worldwide, mostly for free public distribution, with the goal of achieving universal coverage.
There are 12 different net brands that can have varying lifespan (or 'durability') in the field, and there are more than 200 variations in net 'specifications' according to shape, size, color, and labeling, some of which cost more than others. But there
isn't much in the way of information on the end-user or country program benefits of these various LLINs. This leaves public health administrators mostly in the dark when it comes to determining which LLINs provide the best value for money. And the result is
a very fragmented market.
It turns out that much more can be done to
reduce that fragmentation and buy
bednets. According to analysis led by Kanika Bahl and Pooja Shaw of
team, improved global incentives and information on cost-effectiveness could save the fight against malaria up to $630 million over the next five years and encourage manufacturers
to produce better-performing nets.
Using their central position in global LLIN markets, donor institutions can introduce policy incentives to focus on cost-effectiveness and rationalize specifications so that suppliers can take advantage of economies of scale in production. To implement these
policies, global guidance on the performance of various nets is urgently needed, and this is where organizations such as the WHO can provide direction.
For more on how to empower public health administrations around the world to shop smarter and save millions in the global fight against malaria download R4D's full public report,