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Video: "House improvement will bring malaria elimination in Africa two decades forward"

January 30, 2013 - 14:31 -- Bart G.J. Knols

The video below is an interview with Dr. Jo Lines posted online two weeks ago. Dr. Lines is currently with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine again after several years of serving the World Health Organization in Geneva. He has been one of the frontline people in the science surrounding insecticide-treated bednets, and later in advocacy and uptake of this simple technology that has saved an estimated 1 million lives over the past decade. A remarkable achievement no doubt. Have a look...

There are some remarkable statements he makes in this interview. Although he attributes the successes of the past decade to the wide-scale deployment of insecticide-treated bednets, he omits to inform us that indoor residual spraying also played a very prominent role. Think of the US-PMI campaigns in some 15 African countries, through which millions of houses were sprayed.

The acknowledgement that bednet technology is not the panacea when it gets to malaria control (forget elimination) is interesting. If a family can use a net given for free, it will last for some three years. But who will knock on the door to deliver a new one thereafter? That is a key concern raised - indeed the concern of sustainability. Lines talks about the 'loss of faith' which I interpret as 'the danger of donor fatigue'. He also mentions the growing problems with insecticide resistance - a topic frequently discussed at MalariaWorld.
Most remarkable of all are his statements regarding general development, environmental changes, and house improvements as a means to curb malaria transmission. It is fascinating that the believe in house improvements is now becoming apparent to such an extent that Dr. Lines even claims that this may bring the day the last case of malaria is seen in Africa a decade or two closer. Bravo!
The importance of house improvements in malaria control was first discussed in a forum on MalariaWorld in 2009. It is heartwarming to see the support of this prominent malariologist for this approach.
Your comments on the video?


Submitted by derek charlwood (not verified) on

Another simple DIY video to see on how to prevent mosquitoes entering houses can be found at :youtube - house screens for mosquito control in Mozambique - enjoy

I'm going to keep banging on about the fact that constant exposure to "safe" insecticides, whether with ITNs or residual spraying cannot be a good thing and may result in long-term health problems. Pyrethroids may be safer than OPs and carbamates but they have been associated with childhood cancers and neurological disorders. And of course there will always be biochemical resistance to any compound. I wouldn't want to sleep under insecticide every night for years on end.

Submitted by Henk Bouwman (not verified) on

We published a commentary on malaria contol insecticides and infant heath risk in EHP in 2011. (Bouwman H, Kyling H. 2011. Malaria control insecticide residues in breast milk: The need to consider infant health risks. Environmental Health Perspectives. 117:1477-1480. Our conclussions were: "Because millions of people in malaria control areas experience conditions of multiple sources and routes of exposure to any number of insecticides, even though lives are saved through malaria prevention, identification of potential infant health risks associated with insecticide residues in breast milk must be incorporated in WHOPES evaluations and in the development of appropriate risk assessment tools."