By Shapol Mohamed,

Uganda has the world’s highest number of malaria incidences, with a rate of 478 cases per 1,000 population per year. Statistics from the Uganda Ministry of Health shows that malaria is still the leading cause of death in Uganda, accounting for over 27% of deaths. This shows that Malaria is a still a very common disease and killer in Uganda. This means that something needs to be done.

It is very surprising that you can reduce the number of deaths and cases of malaria significantly in a sustainable way. We in the UK, as students, can do a lot to tackle and help prevent malaria. Prevention means to stop people from getting malaria and does not mean to find a cure for the disease. A couple of examples of projects we could do to prevent people from getting malaria are shown below.

What are mosquitoes attracted to?

Before seeing the projects, it is vital to know what mosquitoes are attracted to and why they bite humans.

Project 1: Mosquito Traps

We have already stated that mosquitoes are attracted to carbon dioxide. We can take advantage of that and use that to trap them. This method requires a plastic bottle, water, brown sugar, and yeast. To do this we need cut the plastic bottle in half. Next, we need to fill the bottom half of the bottle with hot water, brown sugar and yeast. Then we need to put the top of the bottle on the bottom of the bottle upside down and we also need to tape it. Then you need to cover the side of the bottle with a black cloth. The solution would release carbon dioxide and this would attract the mosquitoes to go in but they would not be able to get out.

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Project 2: Natural Mosquito Repellents

Mosquitoes are repelled by many scents, this includes lavender oil, mint, tea tree oil and many more. This means that you can make natural mosquito repellents very easily. For example, you could get lavender oil from homegrown lavender and turn that into natural mosquito repellents. This needs additional research, for example, we need to take into account which plants can grow in Uganda, the price of having that plant and how sustainable it is.

Project 3: Decreasing The Mosquito Population

The number of malaria-released deaths is directly proportional to the number of mosquitoes in the area. So we could represent this by: Number of deaths ∝ Number of mosquitoes

Therefore, by using basic algebra, we can assume that to make the number of deaths equal to zero we need to make the number of mosquitoes equal to zero. We can do this by stopping the mosquitoes from being able to reproduce.

Mosquitoes lay their eggs in water, like ponds, so we can use water and ponds to decrease the number of new mosquitoes.

Apple Vinegar kills Mosquito Larvae (immature mosquitoes) and this can be used to decrease the number of mosquitoes in the area. The problem that we face is that this would require a lot of Apple Vinegar; you need to add apple vinegar to water in the ratio of 15:85 and this is a lot.

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Another alternative is by using natural bacteria that can be found in the top inches of soil like Bacillus Thuringlenis Israelensis (BTI). BTI can be found in the top inches of soil and it kills Mosquito Larvae and is also not toxic to wildlife and humans. This method is more effective as the bacteria can multiply by themselves and it would last longer and it also won’t have any negative effects on the wildlife.

Lactic acid: mosquitoes are more attracted to people with a greater build-up of lactic acid on their skin. You can reduce lactic acid by washing with soap after exercising and thoroughly drying.

Secretion: we secrete compounds known as saccharides and antigens through our skin and this indicates blood type. depending on the type of blood you have, you secrete different scents. Studies have shown that mosquitoes are most attracted to type O blood and least attracted to type A.

Body odour: Bacterial colonies combined with sweat generate that human scent we call body odour.

Carbon Dioxide: mosquitoes are attracted to the carbon dioxide we exhale

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