Tech & Innovation August 25, 2016 at 06:12 am

Tanzanian Institute Develops New Technology To Fight Malaria

Fredrick Ngugi | Contributor

Fredrick Ngugi August 25, 2016 at 06:12 am

August 25, 2016 at 06:12 am | Tech & Innovation

A house fitted with the new Eave Tubes for stopping malaria-spreading mosquitoes. MCD Project

As the world and Africa, in particular, continues to grapple with malaria, Tanzania’s Ifakara Health Institute has developed a new technology that has proven quite effective in fighting malaria.

According to the Daily News, Ifakara Health Institute has created insecticide-laden tubes, known as “Eave Tubes,” that attract and kill female Anopheles mosquitoes that transmit malaria.

The tubes, locally referred to as tungulizibomba, are placed in common mosquito pathways, such as windows, roofs, doors, and attics.

Many Tanzanians, including medical doctors and business people, have welcomed the new technology, saying it will help eradicate insecticide-resistant mosquitoes and protect households from malaria.

“It is a great achievement because many house designs have eaves (openings between the wall and the roof) that allow mosquitoes in to the house,” Diana Robert, a high school student from Ukonga Madafu, Tanzania, said.

Although the tubes might be costly, many Tanzanians have called on their government to embrace the technology and find ways to make it suitable for Tanzanian society.

They want the government, parastatals, and development partners to support Ifakara Health Institute and ensure that the new innovation makes a difference in the country’s health sector.

“We would better now rise above talking and support such innovations to demonstrate our hate for malaria,” Nelson Magara, a marketing executive, added.

Cheap But Effective

According to Dr. Ladslaus Mnyone, the lead Tanzanian researcher and innovator in the development of Eave Tubes, this technology is cheaper than the majority of existing malaria prevention and treatment options.

Dr. Mnyone says that the tubes, which are simple 6-inch-diameter plastic pipes, require small amounts of insecticide and netting materials, and are designed to effectively kill the most stubborn mosquitoes and protect the entire household.

“Over 80 percent of malaria-spreading mosquitoes enter houses through eaves in response to human smell,” Dr. Mnyone said.

Degree of Uncertainty

Although many Tanzanians have welcomed the innovation, some have expressed their reservations over its effectiveness in addressing the longstanding problem of malaria.

“Mosquitoes will die in tube? Not all of them. A sizeable number will fly in using doors and windows. You need a bed net,” secretary Noel Muta said.

While acknowledging people’s worries, Dr. Mnyone says that Eave Tubes work better than bed nets since they offer better exposure and transfer of insecticide particles, ensuring that even the most resistant mosquitoes are killed.

According to the World Health Organization, at least 11 million Tanzanians are clinically diagnosed with malaria every year.

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