16/02/2016

Around the world malaria is responsible for almost half a million deaths and over 3 billion people are at risk. The disease constitutes a huge epidemiological burden in Africa and continues to cripple economic development in the region.

VectorWorks is a project to monitor the durability of the insecticide-treated mosquito nets that are distributed to entire populations in order to reduce the transmission and burden of malaria. The project has started in Mozambique and Nigeria is to follow soon.

The project is funded by the US President’s Malaria Initiative, led by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health’s Center for Communication Programs and supported by the team at Tropical Health LLP. Tropical Health LLP is a consulting firm that specialises in providing cost-effective solutions to monitor and evaluate health programmes in Africa and Asia.

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In this project it is essential to document the location of homes for follow-up and to identify and fight disease hotspots. In the past this has been done using longitude and latitude coordinates. However, this requires handling long numbers which are difficult to remember and when prone to errors when entered manually.

what3words is helping Vector Works solve this problem. what3words is the simplest way to talk about location. It has divided the world into 3m x 3m squares, and given each a unique 3 word address. Now when the teams establish an initial sample of households whose mosquito nets will be monitored over a three year period, they use what3words to identify the location, map the sample and find the households again during the follow-up visits.

This helps the National Malaria Control Programme better understand how long the mosquito nets last under the living conditions of the beneficiaries, helps people learn how to take better care of their mosquito nets, as well as the industry to develop better products. Together this is helping the fight against malaria.