Tanzanian Biochemist, Ms Lina Finda and research scientist at the Ifakara Health Institute (IHI) has designed low cost repellent sandals treated with chemical agents known as Transfluthrin which can help people keep away from mosquito bites. The sandals are still on pilot for two years.
Ms Lina Finda, who trained at the Western Washington University (USA), says the transfluthrin-treated-sandals can reduce transmission of malaria if scaled up in communities where the malaria-carrying agents–the Female Anopheles mosquitoes–are highly prevalent.
She says this intervention does not counteract the effect of the existing interventions in curbing mosquitoes but it aims at helping people to prevent mosquito bites in times and situations where Insect-treated nets cannot be used.
This was revealed recently at the Commission for Science and Technology (Costech) in Dar es Salaam, during the presentation of a project titled: “Transfluthrin-treated sandals for protection against mosquito-borne infections.” The project is going on in Ulanga and Kilombero Districts, Morogoro Region.
“I know people have been using certain mosquito-repellents to prevent mosquitoes from biting their legs and feet but this intervention makes it completely impossible for a mosquito to touch an individual’s entire body. The sandals can protect the users during day and night time,’’ says Finda
Ms Finda is undertaking the project in collaboration with other research scientists—Dr Fedros Okumu and Tegemeo from IHI. Finda told Medico PRESS that protecting people’s feet using the low-cost repellent-treated sandals can provide round-the-clock protection against other mosquito-borne diseases such as Dengue, Zika, and Chikungunya.
Minimally, 50 per cent of target population is willing to purchase and use sandals, according prior assessment. The target population who are willing to purchase and sue the sandals is at least 80 per cent.
Ms Finda is currently overseeing two projects; one is to reassess the intensity of malaria transmission in Ifakara area, and another on monitoring the magnitude and drivers of the residual malaria transmission in Tanzania and Burkina Faso.