Wallpaper Over Malaria
To most people, wallpaper serves an obvious purpose: to decorate homes. But in rural villages across the developing world, an innovative type of wallpaper may soon help protect families from malaria.
Malaria is among the world’s most dangerous infectious diseases, claiming the lives about 1 million people every year, according to the World Health Organizations. Around the world, and especially in Africa, 3.3 billion people are at risk of this mosquito-borne disease.
The ZeroVector Durable Lining seeks to reduce these numbers with an easy and unobtrusive alternative to residual indoor spraying. The DL is a product of Durable Activated Residual Textiles, or DART, a social venture firm set up in 2009 by the Acumen Fund, malaria expert Richard Allan, and Vestergaard Frandsen, a European firm that specializes in developing emergency response and disease control products.
In the eyes of its creators, DL combines the best features of two existing, WHO-recommended interventions: insecticidal nets and indoor residual spraying, which is also known as IRS and involves periodically spraying the interior walls of a house with insecticide.
DL is made of loosely woven, high-density polyethylene panels treated with Deltamethrin, a WHO-recommended insecticide that has been proven safe and effective for preventing malaria. Like in bednets, this insecticide product is well-incorporated in DL, which also has migration technology that continually refreshes the insecticide at the surface of the lining. Initial test of the DL has shown it can protect against malaria-causing mosquitoes, among other insects, for up to three years.
On the other hand, it is similar to IRS because it its mounted on the interior walls of the house, allowing residents to move around more than they would be able to under the protection of a bednet.
The DL has another appeal: It is printed in a variety of colors and patterns that have proven popular among people in Asia and Africa. So it doesn’t just keep healthy, but it also tickles the designer in you.
As the Acumen Fund puts it: “Why not combine the customer’s desire for beauty and home improvement with addressing a critical health issue?”
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This article was reprinted with permission from Devex.
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