Fighting Malaria: World Vision to distribute, Test Next-Generation Bed Nets

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World Vision will distribute Vestergaard Frandsen's next-generation anti-malaria bed nets in Zambia beginning next month to better protect households in malaria-endemic communities where the mosquito-borne disease is a top killer of children. The humanitarian agency will participate in three-year study in Zambia to verify the effectiveness of the "PermaNet 3.0" model which uses new technology to improve insecticide efficacy and durability.

The female Anopheles mosquitoes that transmit malaria feed almost exclusively at night. As they attempt to reach someone sleeping under a treated bed net, the mosquitoes are exposed to the insecticide, which will kill them

World Vision will distribute Vestergaard Frandsen's next-generation anti-malaria bed nets in Zambia beginning next month to better protect households in malaria-endemic communities where the mosquito-borne disease is a top killer of children.

The new PermaNet 3.0 mosquito nets are expected to be more effective than previous models in two ways: they contain an ingredient that increases efficacy of the insecticide and they have stronger sides to improve durability. The Zambian distribution of 300,000 nets will be part of a three-year study conducted to evaluate the nets on user acceptability, longevity and durability of nets, as well as insecticide resistance over time.

Vestergaard's PermaNet 3.0 has been tested in areas of Burkina Faso and Cameroon, where it was found to kill significantly more mosquitoes than PermaNet 2.0, the previous generation of insecticide-treated bed nets. Dr. Mark Maire, an infectious disease specialist with the Christian humanitarian agency World Vision, says such tools are desperately needed to control the spread of malaria in hard-hit regions.

"The female Anopheles mosquitoes that transmit malaria feed almost exclusively at night. As they attempt to reach someone sleeping under a treated bed net, the mosquitoes are exposed to the insecticide, which will kill them," Dr. Maire explained. "If enough households in a community are sleeping under long-lasting insecticidal nets, it will knock down the area's mosquito population and protect the whole community.

"There is clear evidence that if 80 percent of a community sleeps under such nets, malaria cases will significantly decrease, and deaths in children under the age of five will drop by 20 percent or more," said Maire.

Malaria is the fourth leading cause of death for children younger than five in the developing world and is among the top two killers of children in sub-Saharan Africa. Roughly half of the world's population is at risk of contracting the disease.

PermaNet 3.0 will provide better protection in two ways:

  •     The nets contain two chemicals instead of one: Deltamethrin is combined with a synergist to increase the insecticide's activity, making protection more effective even against pyrethroid-resistant mosquitoes,
  •     A specially designed knitting pattern at the bottom of the nets, the area with the most the wear and tear, will enhance the product's lifespan.

World Vision, which works in 63 malaria-endemic countries, launched its End Malaria campaign last year in part to help raise support for distributing bed nets throughout Africa and elsewhere in the world.

"Malaria may not be eradicated with the present tools, but it could be brought under control," Maire said. "World Vision, working alongside other partners in affected communities, will contribute to realizing the goal of reducing malaria infections by 75 percent and nearly eliminating child deaths from malaria by 2015."

Supporters can help take action at EndMalaria.org

World Vision's malaria experts are available for interview. Contact Geraldine Ryerson-Cruz at or +1.202.615.2608.

Notes to editors on the research study:
*Resistance will be monitored both prior to and following the introduction of PermaNet 3.0.
*Users will be educated in prevention and consumer evaluations will be gathered.
*Quality of the nets will be assessed according to bioefficacy and physical durability.

World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice. Visit worldvision.org/press.

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Geraldine Ryerson-Cruz
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