Malaria is one of the world’s biggest killers. But now a scientist and fashion designer from Africa have teamed up to create a solution that has the potential to save many lives.
According to the World Health Organisation, every year 200 million people contract malaria. In 2010 around 665,000 people died from the disease, the majority of whom will be from the developing world.
Malaria is spread by insect bite. The usual prevention is insecticide treated mosquito nets. But now a longer term solution may be possible through clothing that has been treated at molecular level.
According to a report from Tree Hugger, a prototype garment debuted this spring on the runway at the Cornell Fashion Collective. It is comprised of a hand dyed one-piece body suit with mesh cape and hood. All of the clothing was embedded with insecticides by binding repellant and fabric at the nanolevel. Using this method means the fabric can be loaded with up to three times more insecticide than normal nets, which usually dissipate after about six months.
The brains behind the concept are Matilda Ceesay, a Cornell fashion design student from The Gambia, and Frederick Ochanda, from Cornell’s Department of Fiber Science & Apparel Design who is originally from Kenya. The issue of malaria is close to Ochanda and Ceesay as both have seen family members suffer from the disease. Creasy describe the potential killer as “inescapable” in many parts of Africa.
When science and fashion meet up incredible things can happen. Maybe this is the future to winning the battle against malaria.
Photo: Mark Vorreuter from Tree Hugger