The Net Impact
Submitted by Chris Helfrich on August 18, 2011
Recently, a new study was released focused on malaria and insecticide-treated bed nets. Based on observations in a small village in Senegal, the study suggests that mosquitoes are developing resistance to the insect-killing chemical that coats the nets. (Find the full study online here)
As Dr Joseph Keating from Tulane University says: "We need to be very careful when generalising these data to the larger continent of Africa as a whole; there is plenty of variation between communities and within communities…I think over all the benefits of nets certainly outweigh this potential loss of acquired immunity."
As scientists around the world research new ways to fight malaria, it’s always fascinating to read about studies like these – but it’s also important to recognize that what happens in one small village in Senegal may not be the same for another village in Kenya or Cameroon. Just last week on our trip to Cameroon, I was able to see firsthand the impact these nets have on the families who receive them – and what a difference they make in the fight against malaria.
According to the World Health Organization, bed nets can reduce malaria transmissions by up to 90 percent in areas with high coverage rates. How do they work? They create a protective barrier against deadly-malaria carrying mosquitoes that bite at night. A family of four can sleep under an insecticide-treated bed net, safe from malaria, for up to three years.
The benefits of bed nets extend even further than protecting those sleeping underneath them. The insecticide woven into each net makes entire communities safer – killing and repelling mosquitoes so that they can’t go on to bite others who may not be protected by a net.
We’re committed to covering the continent with life-saving bed nets – because they are saving lives across Africa. Will you join us?