Every 45 seconds a child in Africa dies from malaria, a disease caused by a parasite carried by the Anopheles mosquito. Insecticide-treated bednets — nets that are hung from a ceiling over a bed or mat — have been shown to significantly reduce the chances of infection in malaria-prone regions.
Sumitomo Chemical, a maker of highly durable and long-lasting insecticide-treated bednets, has committed to increase local production of bednets in Africa. The company has pledged to open a new factory which is expected to generate 5,000 new jobs and increase the supply of mosquito nets for the region in a cost-effective way by producing up to 15 million bednets per year. Sumitomo Chemical will also explore the possibility of opening sewing and logistics facilities in the neighboring countries, including the Central African Republic, Cameroon, Niger, Benin, Ghana, and Guinea. Over the next five years, this initiative could potentially save 400,000 lives from malaria.
Since making their commitment to the BCtA in 2008, Sumitomo Chemical has expanded production of long-lasting insecticide-treated mosquito nets in Africa. In late 2010, production capacity peaked at just over 30 million nets per year and created more than 8,000 full time jobs in Kisongo, Tanzania. In addition to the expansion in Tanzania, supporting stitching factories were established in Ethiopia, Kenya and Malawi creating additional local employment and the related health and economic benefits from employment.