3/1/2012 8:30:00 AM

Investing to protect lives and the environment

Mosquito resistance to pyrethroid insecticides makes the use of bendiocarb (Ficam®) through Indoor Residual Spraying (IRS) an essential part of today’s anti-malaria strategy. Since 2008, responding to demand, Bayer has stepped up investments in the manufacture and supply of Ficam, helping the product do even more to protect people against malaria.

Publications in the Malaria Journal and the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene during 2011 confirmed that the main vectors of malaria in Africa, Anopheles gambiae mosquitoes, are increasingly resistant to pyrethroid insecticides and that using Ficam to spray the walls of homes is a life-saving alternative. One research study in Benin showed resistance to pyrethroids in all districts studied, but no resistance to bendiocarb. Another concluded that 350 000 people had been protected from malaria by an IRS program using bendiocarb that began in 2008, thanks to a drastic decrease in biting rates.

Ficam has become increasingly important in the fight against malaria across Sub-Saharan Africa, with countries such as Benin, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Liberia, Mali, Senegal, Uganda already adopting it into their IRS programs supported by USAID.
The increased interest in Ficam as an insecticide resistance management tool in the fight against malaria has required significant focus and investment within Bayer.

A direct route to lower emissions
Bayer has a clear company commitment to reduce emissions and environmental impact from its business activities.

Generally speaking, non-pyrethroid insecticides used for IRS in Vector Control have relatively high dose rates in application compared to the pyrethroids (e.g. DDT = 1 – 2 g/m2; pirimiphos methyl = 1- 2 g/m2 and bendiocarb 0.1 – 0.4 g/m2). These higher dose rates translate to larger volumes of product required for dilution and this creates greater challenges in terms of product logistics; consequently there can be a higher indirect environmental impact from the emissions associated with transport. In this context Ficam is the least impacting option.

“A 125 gram sachet of Ficam provides enough spray to protect the homes of an average of 10 people,” explains Justin McBeath, Market Segment Manager, Vector Control, Bayer. “With a stronger focus from organizations like USAID on more proactive resistance management, it was necessary to invest in Ficam production and optimize our supply chain processes.”

Various departments within Bayer have been involved in the subsequent project which was initiated to respond to this increased demand. An important component of this was ensuring that environmental impact was minimized. Production was increased to meet demand and systems were also put in place to ensure minimal environmental impact. Specific investment was made to develop Ficam formulation capacity within Africa. Despite the increase in demand and production, the changes which were implemented resulted in a projected saving of some 625 tonnes in CO2 emissions (or the equivalent of 26 flights around the world!).

Bayer teams also analyzed packaging to achieve further CO2 and packaging savings. Up until 2011, sachets of Ficam were packed directly in plastic drums. Now, the sachets are packed into cardboard cartons. This simple change in outer packaging has significantly improved the transport efficiency through a greatly increased number of sachets which can be shipped per pallet.

“The environmental impact of these improvements is huge and there are also benefits for customers,” says Sylvestre Jobic, Country Group Manager, Sub-Saharan Africa, Bayer. “Orders sometimes have very short delivery timelines and with local formulation and packing we can be much more flexible and responsive. Bendiocarb is an important part of the fight against malaria and we intend to continue to invest in benefits for vector control operations, the people of Africa and the environment.”