The Acumen Fund has announced the launch of a joint-venture company to develop new and innovative products to combat malaria.
Created in partnership with Switzerland-based Vestergaard Frandsen and Mentor Initiative co-founder Richard Allan, Durable Activated Residual Textiles S.A. (DART) will work to distribute a durable residual wall lining — or vector control wallpaper — to help prevent the transmission of malaria. The wallpaper will complement and may one day replace indoor spraying, which requires careful planning and preparation, special equipment, and repeated use — obstacles that often prevent households from being effectively protected against the transmission of malaria.
Malaria has been steadily spreading across the globe since the late 1980s and is responsible for one to two million deaths a year — nearly 80 percent of which occur in young children and pregnant women. It is estimated that 40 percent of the world's population is at risk of contracting the disease.
"DART represents the latest example of business and philanthropy working together on creative solutions to the world's most intractable problems," said Acumen Fund CEO Jacqueline Novogratz. "While great progress has been made over the past few years in providing long lasting, insecticide-treated bed nets to at-risk families, our experience has shown that achieving household uptake, retention, effective use, and high coverage rates is still a major challenge. DART seeks to address this challenge by building a global business model to make available and affordable to all a highly desirable product that is effective at preventing malaria and effortless to use once installed."