By Sola Ogundipe
As part of the events for World Malaria Day 2021, leading bednet manufacturer, Vestergaard has reiterated its call for strategic partnerships to accelerate innovation in malaria bednets in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Speaking at the second installment of the three-part webinar series, the Chief Executive Officer, Vestergaard, Michael Joos, hinted that bednet development must progress as fast as mosquito’s resistance evolves.
In his brief at the panel discussion, hosted by The Corporate Alliance on Malaria in Africa (CAMA) and its partners to discuss lessons and opportunities in the fight against malaria, Joos reminded participants that long-lasting insecticidal nets are the backbone of malaria control programmes on which additional interventions are layered.
He said with the pandemic causing a steep decrease in malaria diagnosis and treatment, this tool is more critical than ever before to avert malaria deaths.
“COVID-19 has placed significant pressures on malaria programs. The humble bednet is quite literally holding up the fort.
“However, growing mosquito resistance to insecticides used on bednets are also making them less effective. New generation bednets with new insecticides must be brought to market quickly,” he continued.
He said there is a significantly higher level of complexity involved in the R&D process, polymer science, and the manufacturing of new generation bednets.
“To bring new generation nets to communities that need them will require a more strategic level of interaction between the private sector and the institutions buying and deploying these innovations at scale.
“By fast-tracking the regulatory pathway to market, improving tools to evaluate bednet performance in real conditions of use, and ensuring faster adoption of new nets at scale, the malaria community can not only save time and money but also improve impact,” Joos noted.
“The community has a long way to go to bridge these challenges and therefore we call for a collaborative effort between technology players like Vestergaard, global funders, and malaria programme coordinators to find new and innovative solutions to these challenges”, he said.
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