A reduction in the price of bed nets that protect people from malaria will allow the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to save some $22 million over the next year, the head of the agency announced today.
“Especially at a time of financial uncertainty, these savings are good news for Governments and even better news for children,” said UNICEF’s Executive Director, Anthony Lake, during the annual session of the UNICEF Executive Board in New York.
According to a UNICEF news release, the price of an insecticide-treated, long-lasting bed net has dropped to under $3.
“Never before have bed nets been as accessible and affordable for children and families in developing countries,” said the Director of UNICEF’s Supply Division in Copenhagen, Shanelle Hall, adding that the price reduction is the result of a long-term strategy to create a healthy global market for bed nets.
Last year, UNICEF made available on its website the prices it pays for vaccines so that the availability of this information would improve market transparency and efficiency, and support governments and partners in making more informed decisions.
UNICEF and its partners also implemented other strategies to achieve savings in supplies. These include aggregating demand and pooling procurement to help achieve economies of scale, transparent and long-term forecasts to industry, special financing terms and clear quality requirements, among others.
The drop in bed net prices, follows projected cost savings and cost avoidances for vaccines and child survival supplies worth $735 million in the coming years, according to UNICEF’s Supply Annual Report. This amount includes a projected $498 million in costs avoided in the rotavirus vaccine procurement, which protects children against virulent strains of diarrhoea, the second largest cause of death for children under five.
According to the agency, for supporting child survival and development programmes around the world, its procured supplies are critical in providing for children’s health, education and protecting them from abuse, exploitation, and neglect. It procures and supplies over 5,000 products to address the needs of children.