Help Stop The Clock On Malaria:
One Repair Kit at a Time
This is Kojo
Ben teaching Kojo how to patch a mosquito net with the repair kit.
Kojo is a 12-year-old boy from a small village in Uganda. He's a bright, curious kid who loves learning and playing soccer with his friends. However, his life has been significantly impacted by malaria. Kojo's family is poor, and they live in a small hut with a thatched roof. The village they live in is known to be a high-risk area for malaria, and they were provided with an insecticide-treated bed net by a local health clinic. However, the net was torn in several places, which allowed mosquitoes to enter and bite Kojo and his family members while they slept. Over time, they all contracted malaria, and it made their lives incredibly difficult. Kojo's father was unable to work, and his sister was unable to help with household chores. Kojo himself missed several weeks of school and struggled to keep up with his classmates when he did attend. He was weak and tired most of the time, and it was hard for him to concentrate on his studies.
We learned about Kojo's story while we were conducting research in Uganda. It solidified our determination to cause a paradigm shift in malaria prevention, making sure that families like Kojo's will always have the tools they needed to repair their nets and prevent the spread of malaria. Our goal is to get our repair kits into every village across the continent, so families like Kojo's can sleep safely and children can attend school without interruption. Kojo's story is unfortunately not unique. Every minute, a child dies from malaria, and many more suffer from the disease's debilitating effects. By donating to our campaign, you can make a real difference in the lives of people like Kojo and help us prevent unnecessary suffering and death from malaria.
Together, we can stop the clock on malaria, one repair kit at a time.
The Global Problem
Overall, 241 million people get infected with malaria each year, killing 627 thousand, with 77% of the deaths being children. All of this havoc stems from the deadliest animal on earth: mosquitos. The primary malaria prevention method, insecticide-treated bed nets, are expected to protect families from mosquito bites for more than 3 years. However, prior research alongside our own collected data in Uganda shows that 96% of these nets are torn after only two years of use, and 40% are torn within mere 9 months, endangering millions of families like Kojo's in Africa. Using a torn mosquito net is like having a defective seatbelt, it gives a false sense of security while leaving you and your loved ones vulnerable.
Example torn mosquito net seen in our first distribution in Uganda
To keep these families safe, we developed a one-dollar repair kit that can be easily shipped with mosquito nets around the world. Our kit comes with all the materials needed to patch a wide variety of tears in people's nets. During our previous distribution in Uganda, we found that with our simple instructions, even children were able to patch a tear in under 10 minutes. This kit comes with 216 square inches of patching material, enough to patch more than 20 average-size holes, repairing nets even the World Health Organization deems unusable. Finally, the simple distribution of a physical repair incentive increases the perceived importance of repairs by over 40%, meaning that after receiving our kits, people were significantly more likely to repair their torn nets and keep their families safe from malaria.
We have already shipped thousands of kits across Uganda, receiving exceptional feedback from community leaders and members. So far, 96% of people pledged to use our kit to repair their nets when damaged. After just 12 months, 64% have kept themselves safe from malaria using our kits!
Group of students receiving our patching kit and education on the importance of patching
Our Next Step
We are raising $10,000 to sponsor our next distribution and data collection event. We are working with an ASU partner university in Kumasi to deliver these life-saving mosquito nets and mosquito net repair kits to communities in need. This distribution is broken down into two parts. First, in December 2022, we traveled to Konongo, Ghana to conduct a preliminary evaluation of the community. There, we interviewed 60 households about their mosquito net usage and repair motivators/inhibitors. While there, we found that community members were practically begging for some way to fix their torn nets, so they wouldn't have to throw them out.
Konongo District, Ghana
Second, in May 2023, we will be conducting a large-scale study and distribution event in Ghana to gain more specific insight into how our kits can improve the retention and overall use of mosquito nets. We will be traveling to Konongo, Ghana to deliver 1500 brand-new mosquito nets and 1000 of our mosquito net repair kits to three separate villages across the district. These villages are deemed high malaria risk, meaning that the people are in immediate danger of contracting malaria every night they are sleeping without a mosquito net. We will be collecting data on the extension of net longevity by our kits, prevalence of repairs, and reasons for repairs amongst other factors causing the lack of patching distribution in the status quo. This research will be the catalyst to include repair materials with every future mosquito net distributed worldwide. This distribution will help us shift the paradigm towards repairing mosquito nets.
In addition to our distribution and data collection event, we are also working towards showcasing our research at the Annual Meeting of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (ASTMH). The ASTMH is a leading forum for researchers and professionals in the field of tropical medicine and global health. We believe that presenting our work at this event will not only showcase the impact of our repair kits in preventing malaria but also provide an opportunity to share our insights with fellow researchers, policymakers, and stakeholders in the field. We hope that our presentation will inspire others to join our mission and contribute to the global fight against malaria.
The current standard distribution model for mosquito nets does not include anything regarding repair. We think this is crazy - like driving a car without a jack and spare tire crazy. Our goal is to use this data to demonstrate a clear need for repair materials included with distribution and incite a global policy shift. We will be presenting the collected data to our connections in United to Beat Malaria and the United Nations Foundation to cause a shift in attitude regarding net repairs. The ultimate goal is to make sure people are sleeping under timely-repaired mosquito nets for as long as possible. Thus, keeping families healthy and safe by preventing unnecessary infection and death. You can help us stop the clock on malaria.