Even though increased prevention and control measures have led to a 29% reduction in malaria mortality rates globally since 2010, Africa continues to carry a disproportionately high share of the global malaria burden.
There are many, varying ways to prevent malaria, and a large number of research teams are hard at work, however, a small organic cosmetics company in Burundi has managed to find a way to integrate viable prevention into people’s daily routines.
Ginette Karirekinyana, a Burundian entrepreneur, left her job teaching business ethics at the University of Laval to join a research team that would experiment on a homegrown preventive measure for malaria: hectares of catnip grown in Burundi and turned into an essential oil.
Their research, published in 2017, reported that in a pool of 60 participants in Burundi, 55 said they were not bitten when using a lotion containing the catnip oil. 10 people complained about the pungent odour of the oil, but most were able to integrate the lotion into their existing daily routines.
Following this, Ginette created the Karire line, after finding a way to mask the smell of the oil. Using the catnip oil in soaps, lotions and teas, she has now created an organic range of products, which manage to prevent malaria, and may expand to a mosquito repellent household detergents.
Karire, founded in 2010, now employs more than 20 people, and has received endorsements from local beauty queens and actresses.
The product line, however, still has a long way to go with penetration into the rural areas where it is most needed, and we really hope it does.