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International health experts to enlist the public in war on African malaria
Date:4/20/2008

gs were grown around camp houses, mosquito bites and malaria cases in the camp dropped significantly.

Hamisi Malebo, a NIMR researcher specializing in natural products, traditional medicine and traditional anti-mosquito agents and health systems, is principal investigator on a project to establish large-scale production of the seeds and seedlings of eight plants and shrubs known to repel or kill mosquitoes. The aim is to distribute seedlings and instructions on where and how to plant them to every malaria-prone region of Tanzania.

The main plant nursery will be established at Amani Medical Research Centre in north-east Tanzania, an area where malaria causes many deaths, especially among young children and pregnant women. Smaller nurseries will be established in 10 nearby villages with high infection rates. The other goal of Malebos project is to extract the plants oils to make mosquito repelling creams and lotions, as well as mosquito coils that burn for several hours.

Insecticide treated mosquito nets

Research in malaria-prone regions of sub-Saharan Africa shows that insecticide-treated mosquito nets (ITNs) can reduce infections by 50% and malaria-related child deaths by 20%. Despite the efforts of international aid agencies and NGOs, which have distributed millions of free ITNs throughout Africa, the lifesaving nets are not readily available in many of the rural areas where 80% of people at risk of getting malaria live.

NIMR research scientist Emanuel Makundi is leading a project looking for solutions to the problems of access including the high cost of ITNs ($6.50 each, putting them out of reach of many households) as well as the social and cultural factors preventing more widespread use of the nets in malaria areas.

Muslims, for example, do not use white bed sheets as religious burial cloths are white. They will not use the white mosquito nets for the same reason. In coastal communities, some fisher
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Contact: Terry Collins
terrycollins@rogers.com
416-538-8712
Program on Life Sciences, Ethics and Policy,McLaughlin-Rotman Centre for Global Health
Source:Eurekalert

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