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This Miracle Soap Could Stop the Spread of Malaria

Faso Soap

A child dies from malaria every two minutes. This staggering statistic is one of the reasons the creators of Faso Soap do what they do — which is creating and distributing a mosquito-repellent soap throughout Africa, where malaria is most prevalent. 

The soap is made of Shea butter, lemongrass, African marigold, and other natural ingredients. The odor it leaves on the skin after washing repels the deadly mosquitoes. 

The initiative was founded by Moctar Dembélé and Gérard Niyondiko, two former students from Burkina Faso

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"Soap is one product you can find in all African family homes, no matter how poor they are," Niyondiko told CNN. "Most people wash in the evening and you want to be protected before you go to bed at night."

The founders encountered an obvious obstacle with the soap: how would the effects stay after the soap had been washed off? They maneuvered around this by putting the natural ingredients into microcapsules – about 100 to 150 micrometers in size –  which they then embedded into the soap. These microcapsules stick in the skin’s pores. 

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"After the soap is rinsed, the capsules remain and gradually break and release the repellent little by little over a six- to eight-hour period,” said campaigns director Franck Langevin to CNN.

Read more: Making Malaria No More

Dembélé and Niyondiko were the first African winners of the Global Social Venture Competition in 2013, garnering a grant of $25,000. Faso Soap has been using these funds to partner with organizations that help them achieve their goals; for example, West African soap manufacturers. 

Faso Soap aims to save 100,000 lives by 2018. Not only does this soap prevent the spread of malaria, but it also has the capability of preventing other mosquito-transmitted diseases, such as Zika. However, more research needs to be done before targeting Zika with Faso Soap.

Right now, malaria is a big enough challenge for this soap. With 438,000 people killed by the disease in 2015 alone, Faso Soap has taken the first step on a long journey toward the end of fatal cases of malaria.

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