Monday, August 17, 2009

Long-lasting insecticide-treated bed nets in Madagascar

There are always things to learn which you would not imagine unless you visit the field.

Long-lasting insecticide-treated bed nets (LLINs) are the main tool for combating against malaria promoted by the international aid community. These nets have insecticide ingrained into the fabric so that mosquitoes with malaria parasites will die as soon as they touch the net. People talk about its durability in terms of how long the effect of insecticide lasts.

Today the head of the malaria control department at the Ministry of Health in Madagascar told us the following:

In 2006, pregnant women and mothers with children under the age of five in the east coast area received LLINs for free at health centers. Since then, the malaria infection rate had been stable around 10 to 20 percent. Last year, it suddenly went up to nearly 50 percent. We investigated what happened. It turns out that those LLINs distributed in 2006 have holes so that mosquitoes can come inside the bed net. Why? People in the east coast tend to have the kitchen inside the house. They burn charcoal to cook. The cooking smoke makes bed nets dirty. So people wash LLINs quite often. After two years, LLINs are worn out.
It's not about the durability of insecticide but that of nets themselves that matter to Malagasy people.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Hi from the capital city of Madagascar

On the day of our arrival in Antananarivo, the capital of Madagascar also known as Tana (pictured above), the current and former presidents of the country, visiting Maputo, the capital of Mozambique, agreed to set up a transition government which will supervise presidential and legislative elections during the next 15 months. (See BBC News for more detail.) On the way from the airport to the hotel by taxi, we saw many, many residents of Tana lining up alongside the road, waiting for the current president, whom the international community does not recognize the head of state of Madagascar, to come back to the country.

With my colleagues from Tokyo, I'm visiting Madagascar to launch a research project on the impact of long-lasting insecticide-treated bed nets (famous for its preventive effect against malaria infection) on poverty reduction. If I have time and connection to the Internet, I'll keep updating this blog LIVE FROM MADAGASCAR.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Good design helps newspapers

A TED talk (February 2009) by the designer who revolutionalized newspapers in Central and Eastern Europe.

I would add that this guy's design of his presentation slides is also excellent.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

The least hard-working nation in Europe

So this is why, ever since I moved to Sweden, I always feel discouraged from working hard.

By the way, the above linked article shows why Sweden's only English news media, The Local, is a crappy news outlet. It doesn't explain what "collectively agreed" annual leave or "collectively agreed" working week really means. This is the most crucial piece of information because the whole article bases its information on the statistics for these two things. If you don't speak Swedish in Sweden, The Local is the ONLY source of local news. This country doesn't have any printed media in English.