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UNICEF to save $22 million through transparency in buying bed nets

NEW YORK (June 12, 2012) – UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake said today that a more transparent and competitive market will lead to savings of more than $20 million over the next 12 months through a price reduction of 20% for bed nets that protect people from malaria.

“Especially at a time of financial uncertainty, these savings are good news for governments and even better news for children,” he said during the annual session of the UNICEF Executive Board in New York.

“Never before have bed nets been as accessible and affordable for children and families in developing countries,” said Shanelle Hall, director of UNICEF’s Supply Division in Copenhagen.

“This is the result of a long-term strategy to create a healthy global market for bed nets, where high quality goods can be purchased in bulk at a fair price, and demonstrates UNICEF's commitment to value for money,” she added. The price of an insecticide-treated, long-lasting bed net has dropped to under $3.

This reduction followed projected cost savings and cost avoidances for vaccines and child survival supplies worth a total of $735 million in the coming years, according to UNICEF’s 2011 Annual Supply Report.

These included a projected $498 million in costs avoided for rotavirus vaccine procurement between 2012 and 2015 due to a price reduction. Diarrhea is the second largest cause of under-five child deaths and the vaccine protects against the most virulent strains.

Some $60 million in savings were secured for oral polio vaccine procurement in 2011 and 2012.

As more countries reach zero transmission of polio and hope to stop buying vaccines, UNICEF and its partners have worked to stop suppliers from exiting the market too early.

Another $153 million in price decreases were obtained for pentavalent vaccines, which protect children against diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, hepatitis B and haemophilus influenza type B, as a result of an increasingly competitive supplier base and the entry of new suppliers into the market.

Price reductions for ready-to-use therapeutic food—used to treat severe acute malnutrition in children under five—were also significant with an eight percent fall from 2010 to 2011.

These results were achieved in partnership with the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Malaria, the GAVI Alliance, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, UNITAID, the Roll Back Malaria Partnership and the African Leaders Malaria Alliance.

The strategies implemented to achieve these savings include aggregating demand and pooling procurement to help achieve economies of scale, transparent and long-term forecasts to industry, volume guarantees, special financing terms and clear quality requirements.

In 2011, UNICEF made available on its website the prices it pays for vaccines. In 2012, the prices paid for ready-to-use food and bed nets were also published. The availability of this information improves market transparency and efficiency, and supports governments and partners in making more informed decisions.

The announcement on bed nets came shortly before the launch of a major global initiative on child survival in Washington, D.C. on June 14-15 convened by the governments of the Ethiopia, India and the United States, and organized in close collaboration with UNICEF. Focused on ending preventable child death through the survival of newborns, children and mothers, the Child Survival Call to Action will bring together 700 prominent leaders from government, the private sector, faith-based organizations and civil society to kick off a long-term, focused effort to save children's lives.

About UNICEF

UNICEF has saved more children's lives than any other humanitarian organization in the world. Working in more than 150 countries, UNICEF provides children with health care, clean water, nutrition, education, emergency relief, and more. The U.S. Fund for UNICEF supports UNICEF's work through fundraising, advocacy, and education in the United States.

UNICEF is at the forefront of efforts to reduce child mortality worldwide. There has been substantial progress: the annual number of under-five deaths dropped from more than 12 million in 1990 to 7.6 million in 2010. But still, 21,000 children die each day from preventable causes. Our mission is to do whatever it takes to make that number zero by giving children the essentials for a safe and healthy childhood. For more information, visit www.unicefusa.org.

For additional information, please contact:
Susannah Masur, U.S. Fund for UNICEF, 212.880.9146, smasur@unicefusa.org
Kiní Schoop, U.S. Fund for UNICEF, 212.922.2634, kschoop@unicefusa.org

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