Fasoap’s Natural African Ingredients Innovates Malaria Prevention


SEATTLE — A single mosquito bite plumped with malaria causes your head to pulsate, a fever to ignite and your bones to weigh a ton. Your body is covered in sweat and shutters with shivers.

Female Anopheles mosquitos are the most lethal, blood-sucking animals around the world. The bite is almost stingless, where its prey rarely detects the bite.

Mosquitos have a hollow needle attached to their mouths, called a proboscis, where they sip out of your skin like a straw. There are 47 sharp, jagged edges attached to the proboscis. In 2015, 438,000 people were killed by mosquitos, and 90 percent of deaths were in Sub-Saharan Africa.

It’s estimated Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo pay 1.3 percent of their Gross Domestic Product to Malaria prevention, according to the Malaria Consortium.

However, steps toward malaria prevention reduces the risk of contact with this life-threatening disease, such as Fasoap. It’s made with shea butter, essential lemongrass oil, African Marigold and other natural ingredients. A filmy odor coats the skin upon washing with Fasoap. The odor it leaves on the skin after washing repels deadly mosquitoes.

A couple years ago, Fasoap won a grand prize of $25,000 at the Global Social Venture Competition (GSVC) for malaria prevention. University of California, Berkeley students, Moctar Dembélé of Burkina Faso in West Africa, and Gérard Niyondiko of Burundi in East Africa, won the global competition showcasing innovative entrepreneurs transforming their ideas into socially impactful businesses.

“Soap is one product you can find in all African family homes, no matter how poor they are,” Niyondiko told CNN. “Most people wash in the evening and you want to be protected before you go to bed at night.”

Several hours after using Fasoap, mosquitos are repelled. This could offer long lasting malaria prevention in the early evening, when people are most vulnerable to bites containing the parasites.

“Soap is a commodity product and not going to add other additional costs to the population” as they will buy soap in any case, Niyondiko said.

Africa is most prone to the infectious disease because of the climate, which encourages year round transmission of a species. Plasmodium falciparum is responsible for the most deaths, according to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Yet in areas of South Asia and Latin America, malaria is not a cause of death, but bites result in severe illness and loss of strength. The lack of resources for malaria prevention continues a cycle of death. Current prevention methods are insecticide-treated mosquito nets, indoor insecticide spraying initiatives and community education programs.

“When you use soap, you tend to rinse it off. So part of the effects of Faso Soap would be thrown away,” Franck Langevin said, a social entrepreneur assisting Fasoap.

“We decided to combine the latest cosmetic technology with natural repellent ingredients … we put the natural ingredients into micro-capsules around 100 to 150 micrometers in size, embedded in the soap. These are small enough to stick onto the skin’s pores.”

“After the soap is rinsed, the capsules remain and gradually break and release the repellent little by little over a six to eight hour period.”

Over the last decade and a half, malaria rates have fallen by 60 percent, while newly reported cases have dropped by one third. and the rate of deaths have dropped more than 65 percent, especially with children less than 5 years-old, according to the World Health Organization.

Rachel Williams

Photo: Flickr


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Rachel Williams

Rachel lives in San Diego, CA. She has a Master’s degree in multimedia journalism lives in a camper van near the beach.

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