Demand and willingness-to-pay for bed nets in Tanzania: results from a choice experiment

Type Journal Article - Malaria Journal
Title Demand and willingness-to-pay for bed nets in Tanzania: results from a choice experiment
Volume 16
Issue 285
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2017
Background: Universal coverage campaigns for long-lasting insecticide-treated nets do not always reach the goal of one net for every two household members, and even when ownership of at least one net per household is high, many households may not own enough nets. The retail market provides these households options for replacing or increasing the number of nets they own with products that best fit their needs since a variety of net shapes, sizes, and colours are available. Hence, it is important to understand the factors affecting private net demand. This study explores private demand for nets in Tanzania using a discrete choice experiment. The experiment provides participants the option to buy nets with their own money, and thus should prove more accurate than a hypothetical survey of net preferences.

Results: Nearly 800 participants sampled in two regions showed an overall strong demand for nets, with 40% choosing to buy a net across all seven combinations of net prices and characteristics such as size, shape, and insecticide treatment. Only 8% of all participants chose not to buy a single net. A key factor influencing demand was whether a participant’s household currently owned sufficient nets for all members, with rural participants showing lower net coverage and greater demand than urban participants. Both poor and less poor households showed strong evidence of making purchase decisions based on more than price alone. Mean willingness-to-pay values for a net started at US$1.10 and grew by US$0.50–1.40 for various attributes such as rectangular shape, large size, and insecticide treatment. The impact of price on demand was negative but small, with elasticity values between −0.25 and −0.45.

Conclusions: The results suggest that private demand for nets in Tanzania could potentially supplement future coverage campaigns. Net manufacturers and retailers should advertise and promote consumers’ preferred net attributes to improve sales and further expand net access and coverage. To overcome household liquidity concerns and best replicate the experiment results, policy makers should consider making credit available for interested buyers.

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