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General News of Friday, 20 August 2010

Source: Hayford Siaw

World Mosquito Day! Stop Blanketing Africa now!

Today is the WHO unrecognized day of the MOSQUITO!

This day is commemorated worldwide in recognition Dr Ronald Ross’s research in identifying the Mosquito as the transmitting agent of Malaria.

World Mosquito Day originated in 1897 by Dr. Ronald Ross of the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine. After dissecting mosquitoes known to have fed on a patient with malaria, Ross discovered the malaria parasite in the stomach wall of the mosquito. Through further research using malarious birds, Ross was able to ascertain the entire life cycle of the malarial parasite, including its presence in the mosquito's salivary glands. Ross then confirmed that malaria is transmitted from infected birds to healthy ones by the bite of a mosquito, a finding that suggested the disease's mode of transmission to humans. For his findings, Ross is credited with the discovery of the transmission of malaria by the mosquito, and was honored with a Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1902.

Last year, we used the occasion to highlight the flaws in current strategies of using nets and indoor residual spraying/fogger units and advised African governments not to waste their meager resources on these non-sustainable measures.

This year, we shifted our attention to advise corporations in Africa to cease from jumping on the “net” wagon. Many times, companies, as part of their corporate social responsibility strategies engage in distribution of nets in coordination with their NGO allies. Yet, the research shows that other measures are more sustainable and the donations should be focused in these areas.

Research finds that bed nets are only 25% effective in preventing Malaria. Therefore, in the unlikely event that every person within a given geographical area (for example: Ghana) sleeping under bed nets from 5pm-7am, then malaria cases are likely to drop by 25%. Despite the research findings, we still we have NGOs raising money all around the globe in pursuit of 'blanketing' Africa with nets. It should be noted that mosquitoes do not bite only when you are in bed.

Thus, the good intention of the corporations to distribute nets is not sustainable and, sadly, it only elevates the mosquitos resistance to insecticides.

Source: Hayford Siaw (Executive Director, Volunteer Partnerships for West Africa) +233 24 3340112, + 233 302 937040