Two flies with one stone

Innovative disease control in humans and animals


Busia (West Kenya) and Kwale County (Southeast Kenya) are poor rural regions of Kenya. Malaria and other insect-borne diseases remain among the most serious health problems in these regions. Farm animals and humans often cohabit confined spaces. Cattle in particular host many disease-carrying insects and thus contribute to the spread of malaria, dengue and sleeping sickness. The close proximity of humans and animals creates a high likelihood of disease transmission.

This project offers an innovative method: Cattle are used as "decoys" and treated with an environmentally friendly insect repellent. In this way, disease-transmitting insects such as mosquitoes, tsetse flies and ticks can be controlled and eliminated. This helps protect people and farm animals simultaneously in a "One Health" approach, which also saves costs. Representatives of different authorities and partnerships in the communities are involved to promote the dissemination and acceptance of the new method. And last but not least, healthier animals mean more productivity.


A woman in Africa is milking a cow while two children are watching her.
The pastoral population in Kenya often lives in confined spaces with their livestock. Since cattle are often infested by disease-carrying insects, the health risk for humans is very high.


Since 2016, malaria has generally stagnated at a high level worldwide. There are additional signs of resurgence in some African countries, which account for 90 percent of all malaria cases and deaths. In addition, other insect-borne diseases such as dengue and zika are spreading. The main reasons for this resurgence are that disease-carrying insects are becoming increasingly resistant to insecticides and are adapting their behaviors. For example, insects increasingly sting out in the open. This makes mosquito nets, widely used while sleeping, ineffective. The latest 2018 WHO World Malaria Report concluded that an almost certain increase in malaria cases can be expected if current malaria control methods continue.



4,120 people directly benefit from this project. This includes 2,000 livestock owners who benefit directly from insect control and 1,800 community members trained by household demonstrations. 320 health officers, government officials and staff from ministries and local NGOs take part in training courses and workshops. 76,000 additional people benefit indirectly. This includes the 36,000 community members who benefit from the reduced populations of disease-carrying insects as well as 40,000 people who receive information through project participants and flyers.
Half of all the target groups are women.


Objectives of the current project phase

The aim of the project is to develop and test an innovative method for sustainably controlling disease-carrying insects. This should lead to fewer cases of disease in humans and animals and thus also increase farm animal productivity. This could increase the local population’s acceptance of the project. The first project phase aims to achieve the following sub-goals:

  • Optimize organic active ingredients for livestock
  • Evaluate in-depth the active substances and application methods in field trials
  • Involve representatives of different authorities and partnerships in the community to mobilize and improve acceptance by the local population.



It is generally difficult to persuade a population to do voluntary work or spend money on preventive measures when their benefits only become apparent in the future. The project aims to circumvent this problem by increasing the productivity of livestock, thus creating an additional direct financial benefit for farmers. This is intended to motivate local populations to carry out the project on their own.
In addition, all beneficiaries receive comprehensive training and are involved in the project activities. Local authorities are continuously involved. This creates a strong sense of responsibility for continuing the prevention work itself.