To save lives by
creating products that prevent disease is the mission of the Swiss-based
company, Vestergaard-Frandsen. Examples of these devices include the LifeStraw,
which turns dirty water into clean, preventing diseases like cholera, guinea
worm and diarrhea. Another is a long-lasting insecticide-treated bednet, which
prevents malaria. In this fifth of a five-part series we explore a product that
also prevents malaria, as well as other diseases. It's an insecticide-treated
plastic sheeting called "ZeroFly."
Vestergaard-Frandsen, the company's chief executive officer, says it's used for
emergencies like wars and natural disasters. The CEO says the ZeroFly plastic sheeting is
four meters by five meters in size and made with a woven mesh. He describes its two uses, "We developed
ZeroFly as a dual purpose tool; it functions as a shelter in emergency
situations and it kills mosquitoes as they land on the shelter."
Vestergaard-Frandsen says the disease
prevention part of the protective sheeting can save lives when more than just
shelter is needed. For example, he says, if a war breaks out, a volcano erupts,
or there's a flood, people run to a safer place than where they came from. But
he says even if people escape disaster, they're still vulnerable to disease.
"Across sub-Saharan Africa – at least since
the end of the cold war – in no war have you recorded more deaths from bullets
and bombs than from parasites and bacteria. That makes ZeroFly so interesting,
because it effectively has an impact on the second death peak. The second death
peak is when you keep people alive in a crowded place such as a refugee camp
and a malaria epidemic starts erupting," he says.
The C-E-O says ZeroFly is unique in this
situation because it not only provides shelter but also protects against
disease when people are at risk, in this kind of an emergency. Like some of the
other company products, the insecticide is dispersed over a long period of
Vestergaard-Frandsen points out that ZeroFly
is unique in its two-for-one design.
"The impressive thing, really, is that there
is nothing else out there like it. There is nothing that is specifically
designed for the acute phase of an emergency. There is huge potential for
ZeroFly to change health management as we know it today."
If you'd like more information about Zero Fly
and the other disease-preventing Vestergaard-Frandsen products, go
to their website at www.vestergaard dash
Frandsen dot com. Vestergaard is spelled v-e-s-t-e-r-g-a-a-r-d. And Frandsen is
spelled F-r-a-n-d-s-e-n. That website address again is www.v-e-s-t-e-r-g-a-a-r-d dash
Frandsen dot com.