While the world was struggling with a pandemic, Bangladesh was hit by an epidemic within a pandemic. The problem of dengue has always existed, but numbers soared during the pandemic. The biggest concern was its effect on children because of the thinness of their skin, it makes them that much more vulnerable.
Since January 2021, around 13,556 patients have been admitted to hospitals with dengue, rising to over 200 cases per day in August 2021. The number of Dengue patients and sufferers are usually higher than the reported official government figures as many people are treated at alternative and unofficial health facilities and therefore not always included in the official tally.
Densely Populated urban slums, the home to 5.3 million, became a hotbed for dengue outbreaks. According to stats cited by the campaign, a hospital-based cross-sectional KAP assessment at Dhaka North and Dhaka South City Corporation area, 21.9 % of admitted dengue patients are from the lower-income class.
Why were the numbers rising? Several reasons, according to the campaign: low-income slum communities partake extensively in communal social practices -like celebrating festivals, discussing news, meeting for tea, watching T.V. etc. They tend to do this outdoors where mosquitoes are in abundance, and are therefore they are more likely to be exposed to the deadly Aedes mosquitos.
Secondly, many mosquito repellents are not approved by the health board, and their ingredients can pose a severe health threat. The ones that are approved are out of their economic reach. Therefore the only safe defence is a mosquito net which is often impractical as you need to stay indoors throughout the day.
To provide uninterrupted entertainment in a safe and healthy environment, Akash Digital T.V., Bangladesh’s Largest direct-to-home (DTH) service provider, came up with a unique mosquito repellent curtain called MosBlock.
The collaborative research done by the Aichi Agricultural Research Center, AG school at Kyoto University found that in the animal planet, Zebras get less attacked by mosquitoes because of their black and white pattern. The pattern creates an illusion in the compound of the eyes of mosquitos, which derails their landing. Mosquitoes avoid journeying in the direction of this unique pattern.
With this insight, an initiative was started as a pilot project in Dhaka’s largest slum – korail slum. The program began with an awareness and activation campaign throughout the slums, followed by the distribution of MosBlock curtains amongst households- all free of cost. The curtains were put on the doors and windows of homes as well as on the boundary walls – thereby deterring mosquitoes from this area.
Through this initiative, the economically marginalized were able to enjoy uninterrupted entertainment safely and securely. And we are another step closer to drawing a curtain over the world’s dengue problem.
Agency: Grey Bangladesh
Brand Name: Akash Digital T.V.,
Client name: BEXIMCO Communications Limited