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AFRO-NETS> Long-lasting bednets to fight Africa's malaria

Long-lasting bednets to fight Africa's malaria
By Katie Mantell
26 September 2003
Source: SciDev.Net:
Tanzania has become the first African country to start producing 
a new type of long-lasting bednet that could help significantly 
reduce deaths from malaria, the mosquito-borne disease that kills 
more than a million people a year.
The bednets are made from specially designed polyester that in-
corporates insecticide into the material's molecular structure. 
This means that unlike conventional bednets, which need to be 
sprayed with insecticide every year to remain effective, the new 
bednets can fend off mosquitoes for more than four years without 
being retreated.
"The use of long-lasting nets brings us to a crucial point in the 
war against malaria," says Carol Bellamy, executive director of 
the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF). "If we can get these 
kinds of nets into the homes of the people who need them most, we 
can take a huge stride toward stopping a disease that kills 3,000 
children every day."
An Arusha-based manufacturer, A-Z Textile Mills, has started pro-
ducing the new bednets with the financial support of an interna-
tional public-private partnership that includes UNICEF, the World 
Health Organisation (WHO), the New York-based organisation the 
Acumen Fund, and private companies. Previously, the long-lasting 
nets - which were designed in Japan - were manufactured only in 
East Asia.
According to the WHO, producing the nets in Africa increases 
their availability to those most at need, and also strengthens 
the development of industry in Africa. 
Bellamy says that more needs to be done to allow the poor to 
benefit from the new technology. "It is critical that this break-
through with long-lasting nets benefits poor families and commu-
nities," she says. "Reducing taxes and tariffs on material needed 
to produce the netting will make this possible, as well as subsi-
dising the cost of the new nets."

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