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TIPS ON MALARIA

  • HOW CAN MOSQUITOES BE CONTROLLED?

    Mosquitoes around the home can be reduced significantly by minimizing the amount of standing water available for mosquito breeding. Residents are urged to reduce standing water around the home in a variety of ways.

  • HOW CAN I PROTECT MYSELF FROM MOSQUITO-BORN DISEASES?

    The best way is to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes.This can be accomplished using personal protecting  while outdoors when mosquitoes are present. Treated bed nets should be used sleeping. Mosquito repellent should be used when outdoor.

  • WHO ARE AT RISK?


    Nearly half of the world’s population is at risk of getting malaria. Pregnant women are particularly at risk of malaria. Children under 5 years are at high risk of malaria.
     

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Get yourself a hurricane lamp and ward off mosquitoes

By Sade Oguntola,Nigeria

It was time to relax, and the guests were enjoying a sumptuous meal to the accompaniment of soft music at a reception in Accra, Ghana. At the extreme ends of the lawn, hurricane lamps gave out yellow light and the traditional dark smoke.

Had such lamps been seen back in the village, it would be safe to assume they were meant to provide light and no one would raise an eyebrow. Had we been at a local shrine, observing worshippers feasting before their idols, it would have been pretty normal.

But this was a genteel dinner and there were enough fluorescent bulbs to light up an entire house. It was obvious that the lamps were there for a different reason.

It turned out that the lamps were serving as a magnetic force to pull mosquitoes away from the guests to itself a simple and cheap way to make people relax without having to keep shooing away mosquitoes despite being seated outside in the gardens.

Hurricane lamps are used all over Africa every night. They are as familiar as malaria. So what's the link? Says Prof. Binka, Executive Director of INDEPTH-Network and an expert in malaria science: “Mosquitoes get attracted to people for three reasons the carbon dioxide released in their breath, body odour and the warmth of the skin. But the female mosquito, which wreaks the havoc of transmitting the malaria parasite to human beings, can be distracted by providing other sources of carbon dioxide.”

Essentially, this is what is achieved with the hurricane lamp: “It releases high amounts of carbon dioxide, an amount much higher than that from man's breath, so serving as an attraction to the female mosquito.”

A simple and reasonable alternative to repelling mosquitoes you will say. Yet the basic protective benefit of the hurricane lamp has been pushed to the background no thanks to development. Hurricane lamps may no longer be fashionable, but getting rid of them altogether is clearly tantamount to throwing out the baby with the water.

For food vendors around the La and Osu market in Accra, there is no question of throwing away the baby with the water. Using the improvised smoky lamps is a matter of survival.

Using old worn out Milo containers filled with fuel and pieces of lighted rag attached to provide a smoke-filled light, is a matter of survival. The locally improvised hurricane lamps, known as “Osono”, is the only way 35-year-old Maa Dede, attracts customers to her wares. It also drives away mosquitoes in the night when she seats behind her banku (maize meal) and fish to sell late into the night.

“I am using the osono because there are no streets lights. I have been using it for the past eight years. It drives away mosquitoes and even flies,” she says in an interview.
Maa Dede, though, admits that the smoke sometimes affects her eyes and nose.
“I have been ill before but I don't know whether is it is as a result of the Osono.” She adds. She may stop using it if electricity is close to light up the streets where she sells. For now, though, she has to make do with the Osono.

Most food vendors who sell late into the night without electricity cannot afford the pleasure of using hi-tech re-chargeable lamps and have to resort to the smoky Osono.
“I use the Osono because it takes me through until I close from work. But the rechargeable lamps can not take me very far. I start work at 7pm and close at 2am.” Says Auntie Amerly Abbey another food vendor at the La market. “It also keeps away mosquitoes and flies. I only suffer from mosquito bites when it rains because then mosquitoes come in droves.”

Using the hurricane lamp has its side effects. The smoke from the lamp is certainly not healthy and could cause some other diseases. But for poor food vendors in and outside Accra selling late into the night the hurricane lamp is the choice for now. Perhaps this is a chance for African scientists to re-think and research into the usefulness of the hurricane lamp.
 

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