The retail market for bednets in Kenya: how well is it working?
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BACKGROUND: Achieving the goals set by Roll Back Malaria and the Government of Kenya for use of insecticide treated bednets (ITNs) will require that the private retail market for nets and insecticide treatments grow substantially. This paper applies some basic concepts of market structure and pricing to a set of recently-collected retail price data from Kenya in order to answer the question, “How well are Kenyan retail markets for ITNs working?” METHODS: Data on the availability and prices of ITNs at a wide range of retail outlets throughout Kenya were collected in January 2002, and vendors and manufacturers were interviewed regarding market structure. FINDINGS: Untreated nets are manufactured in Kenya by a number of companies and are widely available in large and medium-sized towns. Availability in smaller villages is limited. There is relatively little geographic price variation, and nets can be found at competitive prices in towns and cities. Marketing margins on prices appear to be within normal ranges. No finished nets are imported. Few pre-treated nets or net+treatment combinations are available, with the exception of the subsidized Supanet/Power Tab combination marketed by a donor-funded social marketing project. CONCLUSIONS: Retail markets for untreated nets in Kenya are well established and appear to be competitive. Markets for treated nets and insecticide treatment kits are not well established. The role of subsidized ITN marketing projects should be monitored to ensure that these projects support, rather than hinder, the development of retail markets.
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