The economics of social marketing: the case of mosquito nets in Tanzania


There is a growing appreciation of the role of the private sector in expanding use of key health interventions. At the policy level, this has raised questions about how public sector resources can best be used to encourage the private sector in order to achieve public health impact. Social marketing is one such approach, which has increasingly been used to distribute public health products in developing countries. The KINET project used a social marketing approach in two districts of Tanzania to stimulate the development of the market for insecticide-treated mosquito nets (ITNs) for malaria control. Using evidence from household surveys, focus group discussions and a costing study in the intervention area and a control area, this paper examines two issues: (1) How does social marketing affect the market for ITNs, where this is described in terms of price and coverage levels; and (2) What does the added cost of social marketing \"buy\" in terms of coverage and equity, compared with an unassisted commercial sector model. It appears that supply improved in both areas, though there was a greater increase in supply in the intervention area. However, the main impact of social marketing on the market for nets was to shift demand in the intervention district, leading to a higher coverage market outcome. While social marketing was more costly per net distributed than the unassisted commercial sector, higher overall levels of coverage were achieved in the social marketing area together with higher coverage of the lowest socioeconomic group, of pregnant women and children under five years, and of those living on the periphery of their villages. These findings are interpreted in the context of Tanzania's national plan for scaling up ITNs.


Kikumbih, N.; Hanson, K.; Mills, A.; Mponda, H.; Armstrong-Schellenberg, J. The economics of social marketing: the case of mosquito nets in Tanzania. Social Science and Medicine (2005) 60 (2) 369-381. [DOI: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2004.05.005]

The economics of social marketing: the case of mosquito nets in Tanzania

Published 12 September 2006