How AI is revolutionizing the fight against malaria
Our operations have taken us across sub-Saharan Africa, where our technology has been implemented and tested, demonstrating its impact in a variety of settings and environments. Through collaboration with some of the leading research organizations in the field, as well as governments and non-profit organizations, Zzapp is making a difference in the fight against malaria.
Our collaboration with the AGAMal malaria control company started in 2017, when an early version of our mobile app was used to cut the house spraying operation time by 20%, thanks to digitization of data-entry. AGAMal, a leading malaria control organization based in Ghana, has been conducting house spraying in the city since 2006, with impressive results. The organization became interested in control of mosquito breeding sites as a way to deal with an alarming trend of insecticide resistance. Read more about AGAMal
In 2018, AGAMal conducted a randomized controlled trial that demonstrated the value of the Zzapp mobile app in identification of mosquito breeding sites. Two groups were tasked with mapping the same area, one using the mobile app and one using the industry accepted method. The app-guided group detected 28% more water bodies, with an estimated coverage of over 90% in built up areas.
In 2020, AGAMal launched a large-scale larviciding operation throughout the city of Obuasi, protecting a population of over 200,000 people. The Zzapp system was used to guide the operation, which reduced the mosquito population by over 60% in as little as three and a half months, compared to a control community. The cost of the operation was a mere US$0.2 per person protected, compared to US$5 for house spraying.
$0.2 cost per
Compared to a control community, the operation reduced the mosquito population by over 60% in as little as three and a half months.
Together with the country’s ministry of Health, Zzapp is embarking on an ambitious project to completely eliminate malaria from São Tomé and Príncipe within just two years.
While the country's economy relies mainly on cocoa farming and fishing, the beautiful tropical islands have a strong potential for tourism, and the government has been focused on making the islands more attractive to visitors. As part of these efforts, the government has implemented a successful anti-malaria campaign led by the National Center for Endemic Diseases (CNE). The campaign has dramatically reduced malaria incidence on the island of Principe, but the island of Sao Tome has dealt with several outbreaks over the past few years.
Since São Tomé and Príncipe is an island country, with a limited amount of travel from other malaria endemic countries, it is a great candidate for elimination. The project is also a good chance to test Zzapp’s technology in a variety of environments, including mountains, beaches, urban centers and remote villages. By demonstrating the capabilities of the system on a large scale, Zzapp hopes to obtain the evidence required to encourage adoption of the technology by additional countries, paving the way for malaria elimination throughout the continent.
Zzapp is embarking on an ambitious project to completely eliminate malaria from São Tomé and Príncipe within just two years.
In Zanzibar, the Zzapp system is being integrated as part of the Spatial Intelligence System (SIS), a collaboration employing drones for detection of mosquito breeding sites. The project is implemented by the Zanzibar Ministry of Health, and includes researchers from Aberystwyth University, the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, and the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine.
Drones are a powerful tool for locating water bodies, especially in areas with limited access (such as wetlands). While they cannot detect water bodies hidden by vegetation or manmade structures, they can cover a lot of ground quickly, and reduce the manpower required for mapping.
The trial involves identification of water bodies from drone imagery, and transferring the data into the Zzapp system, to make it accessible to field workers through the mobile app. The drone-powered operation is being compared to traditional methods using simple GPS readers and ground surveys. The Zzapp system is also being used to guide 'ground truth' surveys, which will be used to evaluate the performance of the SIS and conventional methods.
The study is funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, an important funder and opinion leader in the field of malaria research, through the Innovative Vector Control Consortium (IVCC).
Drones are a powerful tool for locating mosquito breeding sites, especially in areas with limited access.
In Finote Selam, Ethiopia, Zzapp has collaborated on several projects with the renowned ICIPE research center (International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology), to demonstrate the effectiveness of app-guided control of mosquito breeding sites.
The area is ideal for this method of intervention, for several reasons. Firstly, it is relatively densely populated, therefore every water body targeted protects a large number of people. In addition, many of the houses in the area are made out of mud, making house spraying less feasible. Lastly, one of the prevalent mosquito species in the area is Anopheles arabiensis, an outdoor-biting species less susceptible to house spraying and bed nets.
Working alongside Dr. Abebe Asale, an entomologist with vast expertise in alternative malaria control methods, Zzapp has gained theoretical and practical knowledge contributing to the development of the system.