Good News on the Malaria Front

The NewsHour on 4 January carried a fascinating (to me) report about some real progress on the malaria front in Africa: a WHO-backed experiment to manufacture and distribute mosquito nets impregnated with slow-decay insecticide.

JONATHAN SNOW: How the Olyset long life nets are made is another part of this story.

The AtoZ factory is a huge complex in the northern Tanzania city of Arusha. Mosquito netting in vast profusion being produced by Africans, for Africans, African workers, 1,200 of them quite literally saving other Africans’ lives.

The engineers are Chinese. The technology is Japanese. The labor is African. And the money to purchase the completed nets is international.

In sum total, this is the global partnership to roll back malaria. And already this one factory is producing three million nets a year. But this is no place of altruism. This is a vigorously commercial enterprise.

The resin for the yarn comes from ExxonMobil in Saudi. They give the sum AtoZ pays for it back to UNICEF to buy still more nets.

The Japanese pharmaceutical company Sumitomo sells the magic long-life insecticide ingredients to AtoZ but has donated a free and vital technology transfer.

Inside each of these white pellets is insecticide which will bleed out of the yarn over five years.

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