International renowned brewer, Heineken International through its Rwandan subsidiary, Bralirwa has joined the fight against malaria with a US$850,000 contract signed with Utexrwa to manufacture over 140,000 mosquito nets for distribution through the Ministry of Health.
In an interview with The New Times, the Managing Director of Bralirwa, Sven Piedriet said that the two-year partnership is also aimed at boosting the company’s apparel production.
“The fund will be paid in two instalments. The first down payment will be delivered to Utexrwa in the next few days the rest will be availed before the expiry of the partnership,” said Piedriet.
“First the funds will ensure that Utexrwa puts up new technology to boost its production capacity; presently there is no company in Rwanda that has the ability to produce mosquito nets.
Utexrwa will set up state-of-the-art machinery to ensure mosquito nets production not just for Rwanda but regionally as well,”
Piedriet added that after installation of required equipment, Utexrwa will produce 140,000 mosquito nets for Bralirwa, however the textile company is free to produce more mosquito nets to serve its existing market.
“Our company plans to donate the mosquito nets to the Ministry of Health. Distribution to the public will be coordinated by the Ministry. As agreed the mosquito nets will be ready for end of the year”
When contacted, Utexrwa Managing Director, Raj Rajendran said that the company would use the funds to purchase new equipments fit for mosquito net production.
“We have signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Bralirwa for the production of mosquito nets and to put in place equipment for their production” Rajendran said.
More than 40 percent of the world’s population in more than 100 countries is at risk of catching the mosquito-borne disease.
Although malaria kills most of its victims in sub-Saharan Africa, the disease also hits people in much of Asia, Latin America and the Middle East.
The United Nations says it wants all of Africa to have enough mosquito nets or quality household sprays for the entire population by December 31, 2010, along with sufficient malaria clinics and preventative treatment centres for high-risk pregnant women.
Rwanda tops the list of African countries that have shown reduced malaria deaths recorded in the past two years.