The Mosblock project was recently launched to combat the ever-increasing mosquito-borne disease by providing a special type of curtain to slum dwellers in the capital.
As part of a pilot study of the project, zebra-patterned fabric curtains were distributed to residents of Korail slum, one of the largest slums in Bangladesh.
Project officials said the zebra stripes ward off blood-sucking insects, including mosquitoes, by dazzling them to the point that they cannot land on animals’ skin. International studies have shown that the white and black stripes on the zebra’s body cause discomfort in the mosquito’s compound eyes.
For this reason, many ethnic groups living in forests draw such stripes on their bodies and faces to protect themselves from mosquito bites.
Project officials hoped that the project initiative would help contain the outbreak of mosquito-borne disease in the capital’s slums.
Direct-to-home (DTH) provider Akash Digital TV and advertising agency Gray have partnered on the project as part of their efforts to alleviate the severity of mosquito disease in marginal communities across the country.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the number of dengue fever cases reported to WHO has increased more than 8-fold over the past two decades, from 505,430 cases in 2000 to more than 2.4 million in 2010 and 5.2 million in 2019. the years 2000 and 2015 fell from 960 to 4032, mainly affecting the younger age group.
Bangladesh had its worst encounter with the Aedes mosquito-borne disease in 2019, with more than 100,000 people infected with the virus and 148 dying from dengue fever. The number of dengue fever deaths topped 100 in 2021, the second highest annual tally recorded in Bangladesh.
Marginalized communities living in slums face most of the severity of the disease. Their inability to buy mosquito repellent and the misconception that mosquitoes are inactive during the day have made the situation worse, officials said.
The free distribution and installation of the curtains was carried out by Akash Digital TV volunteers across the slum. They also carried out an awareness campaign.
Suhana Akter, a resident of Korail slum, said, “The mosquito problem is very intense here (Korail slum). Although it is a little comfortable at night under the nets, it is very painful all day. I am much better now after installing this curtain in the house. We see far fewer mosquitoes now in our homes. Children can study and play at home in peace and we can work comfortably.