Better Lives Blog
Wednesday, December 10, 2014

What Does a Cool Forehead Have to Do With Reducing the Transmission of Malaria?

Tom Putzer 


Using the cooling patch

As part of our malaria eradication work with our Base of the Pyramid Group at SC Johnson, I had the opportunity to live with Wilson, his wife Cynthia, and their three children in a remote village in rural Ghana. Each night that we laid down on the floor of their one-room plaster home to go to sleep, their two-year old son would cry. Cynthia explained that recently her son had been having difficulty falling asleep because he had a fever. Her son’s crying also kept the other children awake. This concerned her because she wanted her children to get enough sleep so that they would be healthy enough to grow and develop.

As we spend time living with rural villagers in malaria-impacted communities, a recurring theme for us is that people get malaria and it affects their lives, but addressing it may not always be a priority for them. Mosquito bites or sleeping under a bed net are not necessarily a priority when there isn’t enough food, children are sick, or it’s too hot to fall asleep at night.

cooling patchAn approach we take to help rural villagers is the WOW™ business in Ghana, which we’ve blogged about over the past few months. WOW™ was launched in 2012 with the objective of reducing the transmission of malaria through the creation of a financially sustainable distribution channel that delivers repellents and insecticides, as well as other household and personal care products designed to improve the lives of our rural customers.

One of the personal care products provided through WOW™ is a cooling patch. So what does a cooling patch have to do with reducing the transmission of malaria?  

Parents like Cynthia have a strong desire for affordable treatments for their children when they fall ill. It’s often hot in the rural villages of Ghana. And much of daily life is spent outdoors. The cooling patch serves as a non-medicated product that can be applied to the forehead or other parts of the body to deliver cooling relief from fever discomfort. So even though this isn’t a product that will directly eliminate malaria or is manufactured by SC Johnson, we offer it as part of the WOW™ bundle of products. We do this because we realize that it helps improve the lives of rural villagers, and helps create the pull that will bring malaria-preventative products to them as well.

Our Base of the Pyramid Group at SC Johnson is committed to eradicating malaria and the health and economic tolls it levies, and living with rural villagers has emphasized the need to design solutions that seamlessly fit into their lives, align with their priorities, and perhaps even make their lives better. That’s our challenge, and the cooling patch helps us address this challenge.

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