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Insecticide-treated mosquito nets

NEW DELHI, APRIL 11. A variety of new insecticide-treated nets, with an efficacy to kill mosquitoes, will soon find a place in the Indian households, subtly checking the spread of malaria and dengue.

To be mass-produced by the Gas Authority of India Ltd, the WHO-recommended nets will first be introduced as a pilot project in endemic areas.

The `Olyset' nets are made of insecticide-treated polyester fibres woven into a mesh. The pesticides, called pyrethroids, coat the fibres and do not totally wear off even after repeated washes. It gets diffused over time from within the fibre and comes up to the surface, the GAIL Director Marketing, A.K. Ray, said here. This works not just against mosquitoes but even bed-bugs and head lice. The average life of the net is between four and seven years, depending upon the number of washes.

``The pilot project, in collaboration with Sumitomo Chemicals, will be part of our Corporate social programme,'' he told a press conference on Friday.

Mr. Ray said: ``This is not just the business of making chemically treated nets, it is an effort at sustainable health care. One which will really help the government in its effort to eradicate malaria from our country.''

Pierre Guillet of the WHO, said that long-lasting insecticide-treated bed nets were the most cost-effective tools to fight mosquitoes. Trials in Senegal proved beyond doubt that the nets dramatically reduce deaths caused by malaria.

``Considering the safety, efficiency and long-lasting effects, the Olyset net has been recommended by the WHO as a tool to fight malaria,'' he said.

Dr. Guillet said the involvement of GAIL, which plans to manufacture the nets in collaboration with the Sumitomo Chemical India, will be a boon for the anti-malaria programmes. According to Chris Curtis of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, the nets have a ``mass effect.'' ``Studies have shown that with the introduction of such nets, deaths caused by malaria were greatly reduced. One example is Eritrea, where 50,000 nets were distributed free of cost and there was a 60 per cent reduction in malarial deaths and out-patient cases noticed since 1999.''

UNI

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