A to Z Textile Mills: A Public Private Partnership Providing Long-Lasting Anti-Malaria Bed Nets to the Poor in Tanzania
Malaria, transmitted through mosquito bites, kills a million people worldwide each year. In 2004, A to Z Textile Mills of Tanzania became the sole African producer of long-lasting insecticide treated bed nets, able to kill mosquitoes on contact for five years without retreatment and resistant to tears. The venture’s success relies on a broad public-private partnership.
Sumitomo, a Japanese company, transfers technology and chemicals to A to Z through a loan from Acumen Fund. Exxon Mobil sells resin for the nets to A to Z and donates funds to UNICEF to buy the treated nets for the most vulnerable children. UNICEF and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria act as buyers of last resort, guaranteeing to buy all the nets that do not clear normal market channels. A to Z makes nets available direct and mobile marketing. The government promotes via social marketing through a national voucher scheme that brings subsidized treated nets to pregnant mothers and children under five. In addition to the impact on public health, A to Z employs about 3,400 low-skilled people, 90% of them women.