Coordinating aid to Katine

9 October, 2009

Richard Kavuma has writen an interesting article about the role of insecticide treated bednets in preventing malaria, especially amongst young children in Katine (See Net gains in preventing malaria). His article notes that while bednets have reduced malaria there are other important prevention measures that are not being addressed, most notably ensuring a continually available stock of anti-malaria drugs in the local clinics.

I was very interested to read that there was another agency that was providing bednets in Katine, and in other areas of Soroti District. In fact “Since August 2007, … PSI Malaria Control, which supports governments with malaria prevention programmes, has given out 89,660 nets to households in the district’s 17 sub-counties – including Katine.” This compares to the 5,478 bednets given out by AMREF in Katine.

Amongst international aid agencies, especially bilateral (government) and multilateral (inter-govermental) there has been a strong movement over the last decade towards greater coordination and harmonisation of their aid efforts. These intentions were documented in the 2005 Parish Declaration, and have been systematically monitored since then.

Richard’s story raises questions in my kind, and perhaps others, about the reasons for AMREF being involved in bednet distribution, when there another agency present in the district doing the same thing, but on a much larger scale, and possibly with more specialist knowledge in this area. Did PSI start their distributions after those made by AMREF? Could AMREF’s resources (funding and staff) now be better directed elsewhere? Or are there good reasons for AMREF to continue providing this additional channel for bednet distribution?

The reference in Richard’s story to families buying ordinary (untreated) bednets raises a related set of issues. What has happened to the private sector suppliers of  bednets to Katine (and Soroti as a whole), since the distributions of free treated bednets by PSI Malaria Control and AMREF?  Have their sales collapsed, or have they expanded? (and does AMREF know what is happening here?)  It seems highly likely that the only way treated bednets will continue to be made available to families in Katine after the current project comes to an end will be through the private sector suppliers, if theyare still in this business. Is AMREF thinking in these terms?

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