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Making a difference

Three girls in a hammock

While sub-Saharan Africa bears the brunt of the malaria burden, other areas of the world are under similar strain. In some states in Brazil, particularly those located near the Amazon forest, malaria is the major public health problem. The small community of São José do Jabote, Urucará, is in one such malaria hotspot.

Here, the warm climate and abundant water supply offer ideal conditions for the malarial mosquito to survive, thrive and infect the human population. The consequences for São José do Jabote’s men, women and children have been dire.

In 2007, malaria was as rife as the common cold, with each person in São José do Jabote contracting the disease at least three times a year. School attendance had plummeted and, unsurprisingly, the community’s educational objectives were under threat. It was here that BASF, in partnership with Foundation for Health Surveillance in Amazonas (FVS – AM), launched a study to assess the effectiveness of Interceptor®, BASF’s long-lasting insecticidal net.

In late 2008, the project kicked off: Interceptor® nets were placed in every house in São José do Jabote. Residents were also coached on how to use the nets and what they were for. The results were impressive. Just two years later, the incidence of malaria had fallen by 97%, with only one person in every 12 contracting the disease. The positive effects rippled throughout the community. Free from malaria, the children were finally able to regularly attend school – allowing the community to meet its literary objectives in just two years. These effects typify one of the major targets of the U.N. Millennium Development Goals – namely, that a healthier, more educated population is key to sustainably support poverty reduction.

BASF is convinced that supporting and engaging in simple local projects can bring life-changing benefits. The results in São José do Jabote bear this out.

Three girls in a hammock
The introduction of Interceptor®, BASF’s long-lasting insecticidal bed net, led to a 97% reduction in cases of malaria in São José do Jabote, Brazil. The entire community of São José do Jabote benefited, particularly young people who are most affected by malaria.
Three girls at a shore
The São José do Jabote community in Brazil is located in the lower Amazonas region in the district of Urucará, on the left bank of Jatapú River.
Wife with child behind hammock
One of the biggest advantages of the Interceptor® nets is that they can easily be installed by a single person. Residents in São José do Jabote received simple coaching on how to use the product, and could then set up nets in their homes themselves, without the need for any complicated tools, skills or help. This ease of use has helped Interceptor® nets become widely accepted in the area.
Man in a motor boat on a river
There is no major road infrastructure in the region, thus river transport is the main form of travel. Teams of the aid organization FVS – AM traveled monthly to São José do Jabote to monitor how the fight against malaria evolved. The results were astonishing: The rate of malaria fell from 3.52 cases per person in 2007 to only 0.12 cases per person in 2010.
Taking blood sample from child
A nurse takes a blood sample from a São José do Jabote child. The blood will be tested for the presence of the Plasmodium falciparum parasite.
Child colorizes a mosquito drawing
Education is another key element of the initiative from BASF and the aid organization FVS – AM: Schoolchildren color pictures of mosquitoes to learn more about the insect that caused 465 cases of malaria in 2007 among a population in São José do Jabote of just 132.
Children with balloons
To successfully combat malaria, the villagers learned more about how to use and care for the Interceptor® bed nets. This included special education programs for São José do Jabote’s children that helped them understand the importance of mosquito control.
Laughing girls

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Woman under a mosquito net

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