Adam Flynn is the Sales and Marketing Manager for Sumitomo Chemical, (Vector Control Division) a multinational company responsible for Olyset Net, an award-winning mosquito net. We caught up with him earlier this year to talk about his work with mosquito nets and their importance in the fight against malaria.
Working for a company that produces mosquito nets, you must be quite the expert. What makes a mosquito net special?
I know a thing or two, expert on nets thought I certainly am not ! Nets as most people know have actually been around for decades and traditional non insecticidal nets didn’t change much until the last ten years or so, when new technologies came onto the market and a new category of nets (Long Lasting Insecticide Nets) were born and really spearheaded the push for malaria prevention we have seen over the last 5 to 8 years.
Therein lies one of the great things about being involved in nets and malaria prevention at large at the moment, there are new technologies coming into play after so long, yet because most nets are donor funded, net manufacturers have to be innovative to meet the market and financial demands. That said, as I alluded to earlier perhaps the best thing about being involved in malaria prevention at the moment is looking back at the great strides that have been made over the last 5 years in net distribution, net education and ultimately malaria cases.
Nets are often described as the best form of malaria prevention. Why is this?
Quite simply they are the most cost effective form of malaria prevention, most nets cost less than $5 USD (in the donor and private markets for that matter) and most nets in the donor market provide at least 3 years protection.
How important do you think it is that nets are manufactured in the areas where malaria is most prevalent?
Very good question indeed. We at Sumitomo have been long term advocates of local manufacture, for a variety of reasons:
- Malaria is often termed a disease of poverty, therefore if economic development can be engendered by way of net manufacture then there is a double pay off of health and economic development and a sustainable model for malaria prevention can be found.
- Net manufacture can bring whole communities together around a health commodity and as we have seen in our own ventures this means that communities can be made very well aware of the benefits of net use.
- Having manufacturing capacity of nets where the nets are needed most means that a ready supply is always on hand. We have factories all over the world and we realise the value of cutting out long delivery times especially when dealing with life saving commodities.
- Most countries across the endemic world have a textile history some of which are very rich, so the skills are there to manufacture nets, so we see no reason why these local communities shouldn’t manufacture nets.
What are companies such as Sumitomo Chemical doing to help in the global fight against malaria?
The private sector contributes greatly to the global fight against malaria. Perhaps the main component of our support is to develop and manufacture new prevention tools, medicines and vaccines at invariably near to or no profit levels.
The private sector has a significant hand in the timely distribution of nets and drugs too.
The malaria community is now looking to industry primarily to look for solutions to insecticide and drug resistance too.
Finally as previously mentioned the private sector is in the unique position to initiate and encourage local employment through drug or net manufacture too.
What advice do you have for young people as risk from malaria?
Please use a net!
If you’d like to have your say in the global fight against malaria, be sure to enter the Me and My Net competition. Click here for all the info.