For more than 60 years Bayer has been leader in the development of vector control solutions, protecting the lives of more than 150 million people against malaria between 2010 and 2015.
But the challenges presented by malaria are changing with resistance to insecticides being one main concern. Bayer, as leader in life sciences with extensive experience in both Public Health and Agriculture, is in a unique position to tackle this challenge. Improving knowledge and understanding of resistance is critical to use solutions effectively and thus better support malaria programs in endemic countries.
Sarah de Souza is working as a “Volontariat International en Entreprise” (International Volunteer in Business) with Bayer in the Ivory Coast where insecticide resistance in Anopheline mosquitoes is some of the most intense in the world. Scientists are now considering the potential link between resistance and agricultural practices but information to support this idea is currently mainly circumstantial as there is limited dialogue between stakeholders in the worlds of agriculture and public health.
In an effort to bring these worlds together, over the last year Sarah has surveyed Ivory Coast farmers to build a clearer picture of the reality of their agricultural practices. Next, she will work with local malaria entomology experts to run tests on mosquitoes from the farming areas, and try to connect the dots between variations in susceptibility and insecticides that farmers reported using most.
With this information, Bayer can start a real dialogue between the farming and public health sectors, leading to a better understanding of the impact of agricultural practices in public health. In doing so, malaria control programs can be smarter in the vector control solutions they use and ensure greater impact on malaria disease.