UGANICS – FIGHTING MALARIA USING SOAP
Uganda has the sixth highest number of annual deaths from malaria in Africa, as well as some of the highest reported malaria transmission rates in the world, with more than 10 million cases reported each year and over 10,500 deaths annually according to Ministry of Health.
Malaria is also described as a major public health problem linked to slow socio-economic development and poverty in addition to being the most frequently reported disease at health facilities, especially in rural areas. Most rural communities do not have access to insecticide-treated mosquito nets nor access to preventive measures.
The government of Uganda is investing in efforts to reduce malaria by employing methods such as countrywide distribution of insecticide treated mosquito nets, or spraying homes with Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane, commonly known as DDT. Malaria cases remain high because the solutions are not long lasting and mosquito nets are only effective during sleep time. There have also been several health concerns raised regarding the use of DDT due to its chemical components leading to a reduction in its use.
Nalubega Joan, the proprietor of UGANICS was inspired to produce soap that can be used as a mosquito repellent because as a child she battled malaria a lot and she challenged herself to come up with a solution. This was the motivation behind UGANICS.
During a media interview, Nalubega said her products are already having an impact as most of her clients testify to its benefits.
“Our soap is made of simple ingredients, including olive oil, coconut oil and other oils with an addition of repellents which are soft on the skin,” Nalubega says.
“We produce an affordable and long-lasting organic mosquito repellent soap that mothers with children below the age of five in rural communities can use to prevent mosquito bites,” she adds.
Nalubega further explains that as innovation, they take pleasure in looking after communities, their growing users and their planet. “We employ over 10 women, and empower them through our skills and training scheme,” she reveals.
“We have made it our business to make the world malaria free, by not only educating others about malaria, but by raising the bar for social impact too,” Nalubega adds.
She adds that by selling their product to resorts, lodges and high-end hotels for tourists looking for a natural way of preventing mosquitoes and malaria, they can subsidize sales to rural mothers at the same price as ordinary soap. The impact of this venture is leveraging an everyday consumer product to fight malaria in Uganda.
UGANICS is additionally working with hospitals and communities to track impact of the soap and fight against malaria in children.