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AMF investigating possible theft of nets in Guinea

Summary: It is possible that a number of tens of thousands of AMF nets have been stolen from the recent Guinea universal coverage net campaign. A quantity of nets have been discovered and recovered in Mali, across the border.

AMF recently provided 4.8 million nets for distribution in Guinea as part of a larger nationwide campaign. The vast majority of the nets were distributed as planned and are accounted for in our database. However, we are currently investigating a possible theft of some nets. Our investigations relate to a quantity in the region of 2 to 3 per cent of the nets provided. However, we take any instance like this extremely seriously and are working with local organisations to carry out an investigation thoroughly. We also want to report on any such matter openly to our donors. We are also working intensively to recover all nets possible and learn what process improvements can be made to reduce the probability of recurrence.

Detail: On Wednesday 11th September it was brought to AMF's attention that a small quantity of nets with AMF labels and clear 'For Guinea' markings had been found in Bamako, the capital of Mali. Mali shares a border with Guinea.

The report indicated that further nets, potentially tens of thousands could be involved and that these were likely to include some of the nets provided by AMF. All the organisations affected informed the Minister of Health in Mali, who, late in the evening of Friday 13th September, with support from ministry department staff and the local police, visited a privately owned warehouse in Bamako. They reported that 800 nets were found, empty USAID-Guinea packaging, as well as cut-off net labels and 1,900 unused counterfeit packaging. After further investigation, on Wednesday 18th September, a second warehouse was visited and 98,500 nets were found in counterfeit packaging with the net brand labels removed. Both quantities of nets were placed under guard by the authorities. Initial indications are that there are four different types of nets involved, including PermaNet 2.0 nets, the brand funded for Guinea by AMF.

The authorities in Mali have so far responded quickly and decisively. In Guinea, the authorities have begun an investigation to establish where in the supply chain a potential theft of nets may have occurred.

We do not yet know the exact quantities of AMF-funded nets involved.

Our immediate next steps, working closely with other net funding partners and the authorities in Mali and Guinea are to

  • identify the brands, quantities and provenance of the nets found;
  • establish if other quantities of nets may be found in other warehouses;
  • perform a full audit of net movements in Guinea

Identifying the brands and batch numbers of nets will help establish what quantity of nets has come from Guinea and, for any such nets, help establish from which region they came.

Given AMF collects detailed household-level distribution data, we were able to establish an initial estimate of the quantity of AMF-funded nets that may be involved of 80,000. AMF shipped 4.8m nets to Guinea and detailed household-level distribution records are currently being verified and error-checked as part of the normal process following a campaign, so the following numbers may change. They show 4,551,694 nets were distributed. The difference is 248,306 nets. From this figure we subtract the current estimate of nets in the possession of the authorities in Guinea, reported to us by the National Malaria Control Programme, which is 170,000. This leaves an initial estimate of 80,000 nets to be accounted for.

As verification is completed this number will change. However, we felt it important to report on the situation and the steps we are taking in advance of knowing all the details.

Our longer term goals are of course to a) return any AMF-funded and other Guinea nets to their original destination so they can protect the intended beneficiaries and b) understand what caused this and, as necessary, update our processes accordingly.

In the coming days we will provide updates and report fully on what is found.