New technology to help fight Malaria in the Coast and Nyanza regions

Engie Energy Access Country Director Fredrick Noballa (right) and Pre-Mal Co-Founder Lorenzo Fiori. Engie Energy Access and Dutch-based social enterprise PreMal have partnered to launch a solar-powered mosquito trapping system christened MTego in Kenya, in a boost to the fight against Malaria in the country./COURTESY

Coast and Nyanza regions’ efforts to combat Malaria on Wednesday were boosted following the launch of a solar-powered insecticide-free mosquito trapping system.

The system was launched into the Kenyan market this year by global energy and services group Engie Energy Access and Dutch-based social enterprise PreMal, as an innovative solution to fight Malaria

The system, MTego, involves an outdoor mosquito trap designed to capture Malaria carriers without using insecticides before they enter the home.

“Malaria causes an enormous drain on African economies, with countries spending huge sums of resources for the control of malaria – resources that could have been devoted to other productive sectors,” said Engie Energy Access Kenya Country Director Fredrick Noballa.

Noballa said that the new vector control technology is affordable, leverages clean energy, and is a game-changer for livelihoods in rural areas where the disease is prevalent.

The female Anopheles mosquito causes Malaria./COURTESY

“To achieve malaria elimination in the country, we must empower households to acquire long-term sustainable solutions. MTego is a critical innovative enabler with a sizeable effectiveness radius that will keep the insects away and in effect end malaria and help Kenyans focus on income-generating activities and their welfare,” said Noballa.

PreMal co-founder Lorenzo Fiori explained that the odour-baited trap replicates human characteristics to attract mosquitoes. The technology employs a counter-airflow principle which uses an electric fan to create suction and emit a plume of odour.

“What this technology does is that it mimics human odour to lure host-seeking malaria mosquitoes which prevent them from flying indoors. The mosquitoes follow the odour plume to the source and, on approach, are sucked into a catch-pot and killed by dehydration,” said Fiori.

When optimally placed, the 12V-powered MTego has an attractive range of 100m2.

The bio-inspired environmental solution is a synthetic odour based on components present in human sweat. It is highly attractive to all human-biting mosquitoes, but imperceptible to human beings. 

“Cutting down mosquito population and fewer mosquito bites reduces the risk of transmission of malaria,” added Fiori.

The system was launched in the Coastal and Nyanza regions as they are Malaria prevalent with insecticide-treated bed nets being the main preventive tool.

The latest report by the World Health Organisation (WHO) shows that the number of deaths caused by Malaria in Kenya increased from 11,768 in 2020 to 12,011 in 2021.

This even as the number of Malaria cases in the country rose by over 100,000, said the WHO findings named World Malaria Report which also further showed that Kenya’s malaria load accounted for about 1.3 per cent of the world’s malaria cases, the bulk of which emanate from Nyanza and Coastal regions.