A 25-minute interview on this topic with MRC Director Peter Singer and researcher Ken Simiyu is available online from Dec. 12 at www.mrcglobal.org/projects/african_innovation
Company studies in brief
Africa's largest long-lasting insecticide-treated net producer:
Lessons from A to Z Textiles
Authors Hassan Masum, Ronak Shah, Karl Schroeder, Abdallah S. Daar and Peter A. Singer say A to Z Textiles exemplifies how large-scale production of an important health product, Long-Lasting Insecticide Treated Nets (LLINs), can succeed in a low income setting.
One of the largest sources of bed nets for Africa, and the largest manufacturer in Africa itself, A to Z Textiles of Tanzania cost-effectively produces tens of millions high-quality LLINs where malaria is most endemic, and the World Health Organization certifies its product.
Local funding, economies of scale, technology transfer, and partnerships all played important roles in A to Z's success, as did perceived benefits of local employment and capacity-building. Regulatory issues and procurement rules were barriers.
The company's success was achieved without tariffs or other protectionist measures. Many such opportunities have been documented in the African context, such as manufacturing common medical supplies.
"Ultimately, success is enabled by responsiveness to opportunities, willingness to invest and take risks, ability to execute, and strong leadership," the authors say. "A to Z and its partners have not only successfully created an African source for public health goods, but have demonstrated tremendous commitment to the endeavor."
|Contact: Terry Collins|
McLaughlin-Rotman Centre for Global Health