In Africa alone, almost half a million people die from mosquito-borne malaria each year. Some 90% of malaria-related deaths occur in Africa and within Africa, both Kenya and Ethiopia have very high rates of infection. The Biovision Projects are successfully using environmentally friendly methods - so‑called "Integrated Vector Management" (IVM) - in order to tackle the deadly tropical disease. The first stage is to explain to local communities what causes the disease, the dangers of stagnant ponds and the effective use of mosquito nets. This information is disseminated through schools and at market and village centres using popular tools such as puppetry. Working with the local community, ditches are dug close to settlements in order to drain the ponds; clay depressions are levelled and water extracted from other potential breeding sites for the Anopheles mosquito. Where this is not possible, e.g. the water is being used for storage purposes, specially trained mosquito scouts monitor potential breeding sites and if necessary, reservoirs, etc. are sprayed with the non-polluting bacterium Bti that destroys the mosquitos at the larval stage.
Through the Integrated Vector Management (IVM) to combat malaria in an environmentally friendly way, health, nutrition, food security, environmental conditions and the income of the population in East Africa is being improved.
The pilot projects run by Biovision have demonstrated that environmentally-friendly and cost-effective methods supported by the local community can effectively control malaria. For example, the number of children under 14 years of age in hospitals in the project area of Malindi (Kenya) with malaria has declined on average by 70%.
More than 278’500 people living in the project areas of Nyabondo and Malindi (Kenya) and Tolay (Ethiopia) have benefited from an environmentally-friendly method of malaria control that has reduced the incidence of mosquitos and significantly reduced the number of malaria cases. Some 66’500 people are directly involved in the project activities. They can pass on their knowledge by acting as multipliers.
From 2016 to 2018 the focus is on the sustainability of the IVM-activities: The IVM activities, the structures and the people involved will be organised in a way that a long-term, effective and environmentally friendly malaria prevention becomes possible.
- A 50% reduction of the mosquito population transmitting malaria in our project areas.
- A 50% reduction on transmissions in the project areas.
- A 10% increase of income for the participating households.
74‘000 inhabitants in the project areas have been sensitised through information events, theatres, malaria-days at schools and workshops. The mosquito populations have been monitored on a weekly basis, potential breeding grounds drained and treated with natural insecticides. In Nyabondo, Kenya, 4’500 metres of drainage canals have been built to eliminate standing water.
In order to anchor the IVM in the local strategies of the authorities, meetings were held with policiy makers in Kenya and in Ethiopia. In addition, scientist of theicipe in Nairobi tested two natural bio-pesticides for anopheles larvae, which proved to be efficient in treating water infested with larvae.
As an income generating measure, the breeding of edible fish was promoted in Nyabondo, Kenya. 19 ponds were provided with 800 fish each, which feed on the larvae and can be either sold or used for meals at home. In addition, 20,250 tree seedlings, which provide natural insecticides, were bred for the local farmers.
Biovision supports projects that tackle the root causes of problems. A medical approach is normally used in the fight against malaria. To a certain extent, this tackles the problem from the wrong end. In contrast, Biovision supports projects that tackle the root causes, i.e. the cause of the deadly disease. IVM embraces a wide range of different prevention measures. It does not focus on treating the disease but on controlling the insects that transmit it (vectors).
The mantra is: reducing the number of infected mosquitos reduces the incidence of malaria. Reducing the number of mosquitos allowed to mature or become infected with the disease agent reduces the number of human victims.
Of course a medical approach is still necessary for those who fall ill. The development of an effective vaccine or other new medical solutions is highly desirable. However, the reduction in the incidence of malaria infections also eases the pressure on the medical services that tend to be a bottleneck in the countries affected by malaria.