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Health

These Insecticide-Infused Nets Are Protecting Children From Malaria

Nets laced with insecticide helped decrease deaths caused by malaria by 60% between 2000 and 2015, and now a study published in The Lancet suggests that nets infused with two insecticides work even better.

These new nets are made with pyrethroids, a chemical commonly used in protective nets, as well as piperonyl butoxide, a newer compound that prevents mosquitoes from breaking down pyrethroids, according to The New York Times.

The study reported that mosquito nets infused with both chemicals reduced malaria prevalence in children by 44%.

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The report’s findings have led the World Health Organization (WHO) to recommend that the new nets be used in regions where mosquitoes have developed resistance to pyrethroids.

Finding new insecticides for nets is difficult because they must be able to repel or kill mosquitoes, but remain safe for humans.

Insecticide-infused nets have been essential in decreasing malaria cases around the world, combined with efforts like applying pesticides on walls inside homes, increasing preventative treatment of pregnant women and children during malaria seasons, as well as malaria testing and treatment overall, according to The New York Times.

Read More: How Sri Lanka, Once One of the Worst-Infected in the World, Got Rid of Malaria

World leaders and philanthropists have also played important roles in the fight against malaria.

Just last month, at the Malaria Summit London 2018, $3.8 billion was pledged toward the elimination of malaria, with $2 billion of that to be distributed to malaria-affected countries by 2020.

Bill Gates pledged $1 billion by 2023 at the summit.

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"It’s a disease that is preventable, treatable and ultimately beatable, but progress against malaria is not inevitable," Gates said in a statement.

The use of mosquito nets has led to great strides in furthering global health, but unfortunately there have been reported cases of the nets being misused.

Some people have used them for fishing, while others have used them to fence their gardens, The New York Times reported.

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To combat this misuse, Uganda’s health minister has threatened to arrest anyone using the nets for anything other than combating malaria.

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