Sunna is a solar powered mosquito trap that mimics human scent.

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In Africa, malaria has a severe socio-economic impact on populations. It is one of the major causes of household poverty as it results in absenteeism from productive income generation activities.

At the international Centre for Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE) in Rusinga Kenya, they are tackling this problem by developing he solar powered ‘Sunna’ mosquito trap. This lures the host-seeking malaria mosquitoes using technology that they have developed.

The Sunna trap works by attracting mosquitoes using a human mimicking scent that is dispersed from 5 nylon strips located within its housing.  The solar panel powers a fan which blows the scent blend into the area around the trap. Mosquitoes attracted by the scent come near the trap and the fan sucks them into a trap chamber where they die from dehydration.

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Installing Sunna trap in a home

Out in the villages, the free Sunna trap is an attractive idea to many, due to low income and maintaining a thriving fishing industry, which is key to the economic strength of Rusinga island. The high levels of malaria prevalence on the island made it an ideal research location. “We have a prevalence of between 10% and 40% on the island alone.That is a high percentage!  It means that four out of every ten people you meet here are carrying malaria.” – Dan Masicah, Scientist, ICIPE.

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Technicians install the solar panel on a roof

For the trap to succeed, it was important to incorporate other features that would add to its vale. The trap comes complete with a two-bulb home lighting unit and a phone charging system that run off the solar-powered battery. The trap is not only fighting malaria but also putting an end to respiratory diseases caused by paraffin lamps. BY fighting disease on various levels, the Sunna trap has allowed local fishermen and traders to focus solely on their income generating activities. The reduction of cost on medical care has seen that newfound income helped raised the economic standards of the beneficiaries.

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The future is looking brighter for the residents of Rusinga Island.

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