Looking Back, Looking Forward
William E. Collins, PhD and Geoffrey M. Jeffery, ScD
Tropical Medicine and Hygiene News Editor William E. Collins
The use of insecticide-treated bed nets is now one of the major means of controlling malaria in Africa. In a recent article in the Malaria Journal by R. A. Khatib and associates, a study was made on the use of bed nets following their acquisition either by free distribution or through their purchase from the private sector. The cost of purchasing these nets in Tanzania in 2005 was approximately $5.00 (U.S.).
The use of bed nets for protection against malaria has been used for over a century. I recently saw this advertisement in the April, 1903 issue of the Quarterly Journal of Climate, Health and Travel.
It reads: “In view to the recent discovery of the danger of the Mosquito Bite, WHITE & WRIGHT have devised and placed on the market two kinds of Mosquito Nets, made in consultation with MAJOR ROSS, F.R.S.” “The Folding Hood Mosquito Net” and “The Mosquito House.” Their cost of 38/- and 48/- indicates that protection against malaria, yellow fever and elephantiasis was not cheap, even 105 years ago. Obviously Major Ross’s discovery had given him enough notoriety to be quoted in advisements so soon after the announcement and award of the Nobel Prize. One wonders if he also deserved a commission on the sale of the nets.
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