The United Nations Foundation has announced that through an agreement reached with the government of Zambia, the World Bank, UNICEF, and Stanbic Bank Zambia, more than 800,000 anti-malaria bed nets were delivered three months ahead of schedule and before the peak of the rainy season.
The $4.8 million deal will provide anti-malaria bed nets to 1.6 million people in Zambia and potentially avert tens of thousands of malaria cases — including among thousands of children, who are at greater risk of contracting malaria during the rainy season. It also marks the first use of the Pledge Guarantee for Health (PGH), a new financial tool developed by the UN Foundation, with help from Dalberg Global Development Advisors and funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, that streamlines the procurement of lifesaving health supplies.
By guaranteeing bank loans, PGH enables developing countries to avoid stock-outs, emergency shipments, and high costs that can arise when they have to wait for funding to replenish supplies of critical medicines. In Zambia, once the guarantee was issued, it took the government and UNICEF fewer than three weeks to deliver the bed nets to the district level.
"The process is new, but the goal of Pledge Guarantee for Health is simple: to more quickly and effectively reduce childhood deaths from easily preventable diseases," said Kevin Starace, executive director of Global Health Innovation at the UN Foundation. "The PGH helps streamline the flow of aid dollars, reducing inefficiencies and premiums that governments pay on health commodities due to bottlenecks in the grant disbursement process."