Endemic countries are working hard to reach universal coverage (UC) by 31 December 2010.Â With many countries relying on the small number of LLIN manufacturers, there is a big challenge and much competition among countries to get this done. Burkina Faso is a case in point.
For understanding of the situation the country ‘road map’ toward UC in 2010 presents the following information:
- 8,487,000 needed for 2010
- 1,581,000 currently in use
- 7,466,134 expected from Global Fund
- 1,020,866 gap
The actual dates for the mass distribution have been steadily pushed back as Global Fund supplied nets have not arrived and challenges remain to find a donor to fill the gap.
This has not stopped the National Malaria Control Program from getting the process rolling. A national launch was held on 12 July at Nanoro, about 85 km from Ouagadougou. It was expected thereafter that from region to district to health facility level effort would be made to count houses and residents in order to get a good estimate of where nets need to go. It seems that without nets physically present, district level preparations are on hold.
An interesting prospect in the wider net picture is the widespread availability non-treated nets for sale along the roadside. This implies that there must be some level of demand, for which people are willing to pay.
Two questions arise. First, will mass campaigns drive local entrepreneurs out of business? Secondly, if the local businesses persist, what role can they play in keeping up with gaps in net supplies.Â Though not as technologically advanced as LLINs, these commercial nets might fill a gap if supplies of longer lasting insecticide packets were also sold.
As the end of December approaches, we come to suspect that UC may occur in waves over the next two years as supplies become available. In the meantime there needs to be research into the local net markets to learn about what is driving demand, the extent of this demand and the potential for the private sector to fill gaps now and as we need to keep up supplies into the future.