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Two African students have created an anti-Malaria soap that is not only a soap but also a mosquito repellant and leaves a larvicidal in the rinse water. Malaria killed an estimated 660,000 people in 2010 and the best guess is that a vaccine is still a few years away. But now there is something new. Amazing!
Faso Soap, is nifty on several levels. As Dembele and Niyondiko point out, everyone in Africa — even the poorest of poor — uses soap. So, unlike other mosquito repellents such as sprays, lotions and tablets, the product does not require a change in behaviour from consumers. Wash yourself, your kids and clothing using the new soap and voilà, you’re protected against malaria. And, in addition to protecting bathers, the soap produces larvicidal wastewater that helps prevent mosquito larvae breeding in drains and sewers.
Then there is the fact that Faso Soap is made from abundantly available locally sourced plants and natural ingredients, including lemon grass, shea tree and African marigold, which means it is inexpensive to make. The idea is to make Faso Soap one of the cheapest available so there are no additional costs to households.
The students want to mass-produce the soap in Burkina Faso, and make it easily available to entrepreneurs and nongovernmental organisations so they can get it to market throughout Africa as quickly as possible. They are hoping to be in full production by 2015, when they will have completed their clinical trials.