Standardization, Transparency and Improved Efficiency Needed

New York, NY – Sept. 25, 2008 — At the 2008 MDG Malaria Summit, a gathering of heads of state and government, major agencies, private sector representatives, and faith and civil society leaders concurrent with the United Nations General Assembly, Sumitomo Chemical President Hiromasa Yonekura called for standardization and transparency as essential to meeting malaria targets.

More than 250 million new bed nets need to be distributed in 2009 and 2010 in order to achieve the goal of universal coverage. To meet this demand, all the bed net manufacturers must scale up production of long lasting insecticidal nets endorsed by the WHO.

“In order to reach the goal of universal coverage by the end of 2010, it is imperative to improve the production efficiency of net manufacturers,” Mr. Yonekura noted. “Currently, there are many kinds of bed nets in the market, and they all differ in size, labeling and basic packaging design. To fully utilize the capacity of net manufacturers, we need to seriously consider the standardization of bed nets by defining a limited number of standard product choices. Such standardization would allow the net manufacturers to achieve greater efficiency in capacity utilization, inventory buildup and product delivery.”

To this end, Mr. Yonekura proposed that the WHO and the Roll Back Malaria Partnership convene a meeting of key stakeholders to build a consensus on standardized designs.

Mr. Yonekura also stressed the need to increase efforts to eliminate long delays in the delivery of bed nets by further streamlining funding and procurement processes to speed up purchase decisions.

“We must develop more transparent tender processes,” he stated. “When tenders are awarded to other companies, challenges to the tender decision should be avoided. These add unnecessary delays and cost lives. If selection criteria are clear and publicly available, Sumitomo Chemical commits not to challenge bed net tender decisions — and we urge our fellow manufacturers to do the same.“

Mr. Yonekura congratulated Mr. Ray Chambers, Special Envoy of the Secretary General for Malaria, and his team on impressive progress in the Call to Action issued in April. He noted that just six months after the Secretary General’s mandate for universal coverage of key anti-malaria measures by the end of 2010, funding for malaria control has increased significantly.

“Now is the time for the private sector to step up its efforts and accelerate its progress,” said Mr. Yonekura. “As a world leader in the manufacture of long lasting insecticidal mosquito nets and other vector control products for malaria control, we at Sumitomo Chemical are very pleased to offer our full support for the Secretary General’s call for universal coverage and renew our commitment to secure an effective and reliable supply of our OLYSET Net wherever it is needed.”

Sumitomo Chemical has established OLYSET Net plants in Tanzania and Asia, with current global capacity of over 30 million nets per year. In addition, based on strong demand, Sumitomo Chemical has announced that within the next year and a half it will increase production capacity in Africa by 30 million nets per year. This total capacity of 60 million nets per year will be achieved by increasing production in Tanzania and building a new plant in Nigeria to meet growing demand in West Africa.

Mr. Yonekura concluded: “I sincerely hope the private sector, governments and international support organizations will work more closely together and continue concerted efforts toward the achievement of universal coverage and the Millennium Development Goals.”