It was in 1897 that Doctor Sir Ronald Ross confirmed his discovery that mosquitos carry and transmit malaria to humans. His discovery transformed understanding of the disease and led to increased awareness of the methods for malaria prevention. He received the Nobel Prize for or Physiology or Medicine this in 1902.
Since then, World Mosquito Day has been celebrated on the 20th of August every year, celebrating Dr Ross’s discovery and his determination to see malaria eradicated as a disease. His research has led to many preventatives, and the first vaccine for malaria was approved by the WHO in October 2021.
This World Mosquito Day, we join with the Liverpool School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine to raise awareness of the worlds most deadly animal, the mosquito, and the things being done to eradicate malaria, and other deadly vector borne diseases, from our world. They are spreading awareness of mosquitos and some of the control programmes in a webinar on Friday the 19th August at 12:30 GMT. You can join that here.
Mosquitos are responsible for more than one million deaths every year, more than any other animal on earth. Malaria alone leads to approximately 627,000 deaths annually! 96% of the world’s deaths to malaria in 2020 were from Sub-Saharan Africa, which shoulders 95% of the global cases. While efforts have reduced the number of cases of malaria around the world, the COVID pandemic has set many efforts back several years. Our work to protect those most at risk is not done.
There are many ways that we can protect from mosquitos, including the new vaccine, long-lasting insecticide treated bed nets, Indoor Residual Spraying, Environmental management of standing water areas, and breeding and scientific programmes to help reduce the ability of mosquitoes to breed or carry the diseases. These all help in their way but each has limitations as to how effective and practical they can be. There are also concerns with the growth of insecticide resistant mosquito populations.
An additional solution to some of these limitations is topical insect repellents. These can be easily distributed, are generally affordable, and can be used wherever the wearer goes – it’s not limited to a house, or a bed area! But many insect repellents can be oily, have a strong and unpleasant smell, and only last for a few hours – meaning constant re-application to be safe. There is a need for a repellent that lasts a good length of time, is safe for everyone in the family and the environment and feels nice with a pleasant scent.
The good news is that LivFul’s Akiva® Insect Repellent does all of that. We’re working with several companies around the world to help bring this repellent lotion to people who need it the most so they can be protected from mosquito bites that could cause malaria and other diseases like Dengue Fever. This lotion lasts for 14 hours, is DEET-free, and has a strong safety record for everyone from 2 months old and for the environment. Our programmes in Africa are working with entrepreneurs in local communities to set up packaging sites for the local community in the local area. This ensure that the business is working to build up the local economy and protect the people that need it – those that work outdoors, in the fields, at schools, in marketplaces, and anywhere that they could be at risk of being bitten.
In his Foreward in the WHO 2021 World Malaria report, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus Director-General, WHO says that, “…we continue to need new tools to put an end to malaria and more investment in research and development. ….Malaria has afflicted humanity for millennia. We have the tools and strategy now to save many lives – and with new tools, to start to dream of a malaria-free-world.”
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