Malaria is one of the world's deadliest preventable diseases and claims millions of lives every year. Children living in developing nations are at particular risk from malaria due to inaccessibility of health care. However, thanks to a new device designed by researchers in the Netherlands and Kenya, many lives could be saved in the future.
The device, known as the SolarMal, consists of a solar panel that can be affixed to the roof of a family's home. The photovoltaic panel powers a fan and an electronic discharge insect control system. Nylon strips imbued with an artificial human scent attract malarial mosquitoes to the device, which then kills them before they have the chance to infect people.
Dr. Shanaz Sharif, Kenya's director of public health, says the device could reduce the burden of disease and associated public health spending in Kenya by as much as $100 million annually.
To date, the device has been tested on around 470 households on Kenya's Rusinga Island, an area in which malaria remains a serious problem in part because of high year-round temperatures. Preliminary tests have proven highly successful, and in addition to powering the mosquito-repellent device, the solar panels can also serve as an inexpensive source of electricity that can power a charging point for cellphones, as well as two household light bulbs.
Although the researchers behind the device hope to make their product commercially available within the next year, many families nonetheless remain at high risk of malaria. However, the use of chemically treated mosquito nets, such as the ones in ChildFund's Gifts that Grow catalogue, are making a difference to children in need and their families.
The Kenyan government has expanded the use of insecticide-treated nets in many parts of the country where malaria remains most prevalent, and it reports that 22 million people were protected from malaria through the use of bed nets last year.
To help ChildFund protect vulnerable children from malaria, please consider purchasing a mosquito net for a child in Kenya, Sri Lanka, or Zambia. For just $8, you can substantially reduce the risk that a child will be infected with malaria. Your generosity will make a tremendous difference in the life of a child, so please consider supporting ChildFund in the fight against malaria and help us halt the spread of this deadly disease in Kenya and other countries.