I am excited about today’s field trip to Morogoro, which is located 200 kilometers from Dar Es Salaam. I am travelling with two of Bestnet’s local partners, Esther and Agnes. In Morogoro, we meet with one of our sales representatives, Saleh Hango. He is doing a fine job and he has so far engaged more than 30 retailers to sell our Netprotect® LLINs in his region. He is pleased to see us and our rented Land Rover. It means he can distribute more nets today than usual. Normally he uses a hired tuk-tuk, (a motorbike with a hanger), to get around.
We pick up 250 nets in the warehouse of our local transport partner, and deliver them to two of the largest retailers in Morogoro city center. They are very pleased with our nets, and tell us that people like them. Saleh receives more than 100 redeemed vouchers and is satisfied with the sales. He hands over the vouchers with barcodes to Agnes. The donor of the project that is subsidizing the cost of the nets will check them and Bestnet and its partners will receive their payment.
We pick up another 250 nets in the warehouse and drive to the Magereza, Kihonda and Dumila areas. It is far. The roads are bad. And it’s dusty and very hot. We are privileged to have the Land Rover, and air conditioning.
In Kihonda, we visit a health clinic. Five women are waiting outside the nurse’s consultation room, most of them with small children on their laps. The nurse’s assistant explains to us how she registers and distributes the net vouchers to the pregnant women and the women with infants (children with an age under 1 year). The women present the voucher to the nearest retailer of nets, pay 500 shillings (approx. 30 cents), and choose one of the available long lasting mosquito nets, hopefully going for some of our colorful green, white and blue striped net, Netprotect®.
The older woman we visit in a small village in the Dumila area is an experienced retailer with high sales figures. She has four different small outlets in different parts of the region with a weekly opening day in each of them. People know where and when to find her. Three women are waiting patiently while she registers their vouchers and the barcode numbers from the nets in her book and hands over a Netprotect® net to each one of them. She is happy to see Saleh, and grateful that he brings her 3 bales, 150 new nets. Her sons will come and pick most of them up for her other outlets.
It is late as we drive back to Morogoro to drop off Saleh and then return to Dar es Salaam. It has been a fine day. I think about how the daily work is for all the other sales representatives and for the more than 2000 retailers they have engaged in the entire mainland of Tanzania. I think about the women and the children, who should benefit from it and be able to find a long lasting net to protect them.
For me this project started many months ago, thousands of kilometers from here, in Bestnet’s office in Denmark. Seeing that it works, meeting some of the people involved, and knowing that more families in Tanzania now are protected from malaria by sleeping under a mosquito net, is what really makes me feel that it all matters.