Saving lives by inventing devices that prevent disease is the mission of a Swiss-based company called Vestergaard-Frandsen. One example of its inventions is the LifeStraw. It turns dirty water into clean water as you drink it – it’s effective in preventing water-borne diseases such as cholera and diarrhea. Another is the long-lasting insecticide-treated bednet, which prevents malaria. In this fourth of a five part series we focus on yet another device, also designed to prevent malaria – insecticide-treated curtains.
The use of bednets to protect against malaria is pretty commonly known – especially nets treated with insecticide. But another product, called PermaNet curtains, complements and enhances bednet protection. But Mikkel Vestergaard-Frandsen, the chief executive officer of the company, says the curtains do more than help guard against malaria. “We’re now making PermaNet curtains available for a number of consumer markets across the globe so that people can protect themselves from malaria, from dengue, from a number of insect borne diseases that kills more than a million people every year.”
He says PermaNet curtains have a coating of insecticide that is safe for humans but kills insects on impact. He says they’ve designed the product to keep releasing insecticide onto the surface of the curtain so there’s always a fresh coating, which keeps them consistently effective. He recommends the curtains be used in addition to bednets, although they can also be used by themselves.
Vestergaard-Frandsen points out that one of
the advantages of using devices such as insecticide treated curtains and
bednets is that they replace the need for spraying chemicals at repeated
“The difference between [the] products that we’ve developed here and spraying is that you hang up the bednets once…. You hang the curtain[s]once and it works for years. You do not need to repeat spraying every three to six months; you just do it once.”
The head of the Swiss-based company says PermaNet curtains are readily accessible to the public, “The PermaNet curtain is currently available in consumer markets in many countries. In sub-Saharan Africa alone it’s more than ten countries where it’s available nationwide and it’s a product that we will certainly encourage people to use; it is a true life-saver.”
Vestergaard-Frandsen also says that, relatively speaking, the PermaNet curtains are not expensive, “In the markets that we have analyzed, the price difference between an insecticide treated curtain that saves lives and a normal curtain is absolutely insignificant…. If you can afford a normal curtain, you can afford PermaNet.”
If you’d like more information on these disease preventing products, go to the website www.vestergaard-frandsen.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 web address again is www.vestergaard-frandsen.com