Net protection

Published: Wednesday 15 May 1996

THE simple shield of a net soaked in insecticide could save thousands of children from becoming targets of malarial carriers, reveals a study backed by the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Development Programme and the World Bank. Extensiv6 studies in Kenya, Ghana and Gambia where bednets impregnated with permethrin, an insecticide, were used - led to the childhood death rates failing by a significant 30 percent and the risk of developing malaria was reduced by more than 40 per cent.

These tests have revealed that malaria can be controlled in highly endemic areas. Says Tore Godal, head of the WHO's tropical disease research programme, "We now have a firm basis for actually enhancing and promoting their (bednets) use in Africa." Adds Jacqueline Cattani, an international malaria expert, "The really shocking thing is that these simple things can reduce mortality by so much." The mosquito nets score over other programmes in that they do not require the constant attention of doctors and nurses.

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