Ho, June 30, GNA - Insecticide treated mosquito nets could be produced locally based on the interest being shown by some garment manufacturers and some foreign investors in the venture, experts have said.
Mr Joseph Addo-Yobo, Manager of the Malaria Project, said this in an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA) at Ho on Tuesday shortly after a feedback meeting on the Insecticide Treated Nets (ITN) Voucher scheme being piloted in the Volta Region by the US Agency for International Development and the British Department For International Development (DFID).
Under the project, which is expected to run until March 2005, pregnant women attending antenatal clinics in the Volta Region would be encouraged to buy the nets at a subsidized price of 40,000 cedis, Mr Addo-Yobo said.
He expressed the hope that Valued Added Tax currently being charged on the imported nets would be removed to make it much cheaper, thereby facilitating higher public patronage and help reduce malaria related deaths in the country by 40 percent.
Mr Addo-Yobo said the rising public patronage of the nets was a positive signal for manufacturers to venture into its production locally.
Between January and February this year, 2,000 units of the nets were sold in the region, up from last year's total of 300 units, according to Mr Addo-Yobo.
He said the ITN, which were treated to maintain efficacy against mosquitoes for four years, costs between 50,000 cedis and 95,000 cedis each without the subsidy.
Mr Isaac Brako, Country Co-coordinator of the Project, told newsmen that there was a shortage of the nets worldwide because manufacturing companies were reluctant to venture into production.
He said given the high malaria related mortality and morbidity levels in Ghana, especially among pregnant women and children, it was imperative to expand opportunities for making the ITN available to the public.
It was for this reason that the project was focusing on private commercial entity to expand sales and distribution to a national scale as fast as possible, he added. He advised that Ghana should take steps to sustain the ITN scheme because donors would not continue to bear that responsibility in the future. 30 June 2004