Heidelberg University Hospital: Fighting Malaria in Burkina Faso

Malaria remains a significant threat to human health in many parts of the world. For example, in 2015 there were 214 million cases of malaria worldwide resulting in an estimated 438,000 deaths, 90% of which occurred in Africa.

With numbers like this in mind, scientists from the Institute of Public Health at the Heidelberg University Hospital have successfully transferred methods of mosquito control from Oberrhein (Germany) to Burkina Faso. The methods were developed as part of the “Ecologic Malaria Reduction for Africa” (EMIRA) project.

The larvae destroyer Bti, a protein from the soil bacterium “Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis” has been successfully used in the Oberrhein for more than 30 years. The larvicide in powder form is dissolved in water and released into water-ways. In this form the material is easy to handle is important for use in Africa.

“The transfer of mosquito control from the Oberrhein to Burkina Faso has been very successful.”

–Professor Rainer Sauerborn, Institute for Public Health at the Heidelberg University Hospital.

“The number of mosquitoes in the villages went down significantly.”


“The method is safe, it acts reliably only against mosquito larvae and is harmless for humans, other animals or plants.”

–Professor Dr. Norbert Becker, Scientific Director of the KABS.

The Manfred Lautenschläger Foundation has funded the EMIRA project in the West African country of Burkina Faso, providing around 450,000 euros. Since 2013, the scientists, in collaboration with the Local Action Group on the Fight against the Schnackenplage (KABS) e.V. from Speyer and the Ministry of Health of Burkina Faso, have been using the biological agent in the north-west of Burkina Faso. This kills mosquito larvae in the breeding waters and prevents the spreading of mosquitoes.

Photo credit: http://www.colourbox.com. Material used in the preparation of this article has been drawn from The Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).

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