Solar mosquito trap could reduce malaria in Western Kenya

A solar-powered mosquito trap is showing early signs of helping to lower the incidence of malaria on Rusinga Island, in Western Kenya.

The device, invented by Kenyan and Dutch researchers, uses a solar roof panel to power an electric fan and mosquito zapper, installed on the outside of traditional tin-roofed mud and daub houses on the island. Nylon strips, impregnated with artificial human scent, help draw mosquitoes to the trap and the fan sucks them into the device, the researchers said.

Dr Shanaz Sharif, Kenya’s director of public health, predicted the device could help “reduce the burden of public spending toward treating malaria, which is about $100 million per year.”

Rusinga Island in Western Kenya is known for its near year-round heat and its high prevalence of malaria. But the sunshine also makes it particularly suitable for solar-powered devices.

So far, the inventors of the device have tested it in 470 households. Besides capturing mosquitoes, its solar panels can power two light bulbs and a charging point for mobile phones.

“We saw that something should be done,” said Richard Mukabana of the International Center of Insect Physiology and Ecolology (ICIPE), one of the device’s creators, in an interview. Now, “we want to spread this far beyond just Rusinga.”

Backers of the SolarMal device hope to begin selling it commercially sometime over the next year, Mukabana said.

The device also aims to reduce dependency on insecticides and growing mosquito resistance to the pesticides, said Mukabana, who developed the device with Willem Takken, a professor at Wagenigen University in the Netherlands.

Residents of Rusinga Island, home to 22,000 people, say they feel the device is giving them some level of greater protection against malaria.

Phylis Oduol said in a telephone interview that she and her children now suffer fewer mosquito bites while sleeping since the pilot solar mosquito killer was installed in her home.


“My main worry is my two children, aged seven and two. I am pregnant so am also vulnerable. Malaria kills pregnant women,” she said. The device, “is working well, that’s what I can tell you,” she said.

Her husband Joseph Oduol, 31, who works as a mobile phone vendor in Nairobi, said that with the device, “at least I can say my family is safer.”

Peter Otieno, 23, who also has one of the devices in his home, said that an added attraction is that “we do not have to go through all the trouble of using insecticide treated nets on our beds in this hot weather.”

He says he has seen a gradual decline in mosquito numbers around his home, which translates into fewer bites. Like other people using the new device, he received it free of charge as part of the pilot project.

Sharif, Kenya’s director of public health, said hospital records show some reduction in malaria cases on Rusinga Island over the last year.

“Malaria cases have gone down based on hospital records in Rusinga Island which is part of Homa Bay County. It’s just a slight margin,” he said.

David Soti, an official at the health ministry, said in an interview that “any new way of controlling malaria” in Kenya is welcome. Malaria kills over 35,000 people in Kenya each year, Sharif said.

Malaria is a growing concern on Rusinga Island and in other places in Kenya where weather has become warmer and more volatile in recent years, making it easier for mosquitoes to breed in larger numbers, officials said.

Adopted from Thomson Reuters Foundation


Ethiopian domestic workers banned from seeking employment abroad

Ethiopia has banned domestic workers from moving abroad for employment, following an “exodus” of workers leaving the country through illegal placement agencies, officials have said.
“This exodus, being pushed by illegal human traffickers, has created immense problems for the people of the nation, for the image of the country,” Dina Mufti, foreign affairs spokesman, told reporters.
Overseas employment agencies are ubiquitous in the country, where the national unemployment rate is over 20 percent, and Dina said many agencies lure Ethiopians into working abroad illegally and in appalling conditions.
“It is affecting a lot of youngsters who are pushed out, deceived by the human traffickers, that has created an immense socio-economic problem for the country,” he said.
Ethiopia’s Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs said that 200,000 women left the country in 2012 seeking work, mainly in the Middle East.
The International Labour Organization (ILO) said many Ethiopia domestic workers – mostly female – are subjected to emotional and physical abuse, poor working conditions, low pay and discrimination.
In February, a video emerged online showing an Ethiopian maid in Lebanon being dragged by her hair in public by her employers. The female worker later killed herself in hospital.
Dina could not say how long the ban would be in place, only that the government was taking measures to address the issue.
“Until it is rectified… and there will be preparations for it,” he said, adding that employment agencies operating illegally would be shut down.
With a population of 91 million, Ethiopia is Africa’s second most populous country after Nigeria, but also one of the continent’s poorest, with the majority of people earning less than two dollars per day.

Adopted from Aljazeera


PEPs and Sanction Screening

As businesses become more international in scope and terrorist and money-laundering groups grow increasingly sophisticated in their operations, the potential for financial and reputational risk to corporations and their executives grows as well. As a result, it has never been more important for corporations to comply with anti-money laundering and anti-terrorist financing legislation. Matching rules and being able to understand, describe and justify these to your regulator are critical to the success of your screening program.



Health and disease in developing countries

Millions of people in developing countries die every year of conditions that are easily treatable elsewhere. They die not only because of lack of medicines and health care but also because many are so undernourished that relatively mild complaints become killers.

The most lethal diseases are AIDS, tuberculosis, pneumonia, diarrhoea and malaria. The most vulnerable to many of these are children under five years old.

Also deadly are perinatal conditions that affect children in the period from just before to soon after birth. These conditions include low birth weight, birth asphyxia and birth trauma.

But disease not only kills. It can also debilitate people for life and make it harder for them to work. This perpetuates a vicious cycle that pushes them and their families further down the poverty ladder, making them even more susceptible to illness.


Know your employee. Why does it matter?

Traditionally, we have concentrated on identifying our customers, but what about our employees and third-party service providers?

Research has shown, through use of Suspicious Activity Reports, that, corporate losses, due to employee theft and embezzlement exceed $1.5 B a year. The best way to reduce insider abuse is to stop it before it starts. This process should begin during the hiring process, exercising the same precautions we would use when establishing a new account relationship. The most important way to deter employee theft is to be aware and prepared for the fact that it happens. Dishonest employees avoid detection when managers refuse to accept the idea that trusted employees are targeting them.

Solid KYE policies and procedures should form part a sound compliance program, on the anti-money laundering, ethics, fraud and FCPA fronts. All relationships between an organization’s clients, employees, and third party service providers carry a level of risk, however the risks posed by employees may ultimately be the greatest risk an organization faces. This is because employees have internal access and provide access to external sources.

It is often said that an organization’s greatest asset is its human capital; it is also often said that the highest returns carry the greatest risk. This latter statement may not hold true within the context of KYE, given that well known, as well as well trained employees, have consistently proven to be a significant variable in an organization’s strong bottom line and returns. Yet, where, weak KYE and internal control measures abound, corporate losses, due to employee theft and embezzlement increase.

Some Myths and Misconceptions:

Management does not need to tell employees about policies on employee theft because they already know.
Well-paid employees are less likely to steal. Honest and loyal employees will report other employees who steal.
Newer employees commit employee theft, while senior employees can be trusted. Employee theft is generally detected in its early stages.

Some Facts and Reality:

The opportunity to steal is more important than the need for money. A majority of employee theft goes undetected by management.
Less than 10% of the employee population is responsible for more than 95% of the total losses from employee theft.
Nearly every business experiences some degree of employee theft. Nearly 1% of all bankruptcies are caused by employee theft.

All said, KYE (Know Your Employee) is thus as important to organizations as KYC (Know Your Customer).


Effects of Fake Currency on the Economy

Counterfeit money refers to fake or imitation currency that is produced with an aim to deceive. The act of producing counterfeit money amounts to forgery or fraud, as it is done without any kind of legal sanction. The monetary history of the world is so heavily flooded with the accounts of counterfeit currency invading the markets from time to time, that the production of fake money seems as old as money itself. Even before paper money was introduced to the world, there were several instances of fakes with respect to metal currency. And, such instances were not limited to a certain region, but were prevalent all over the world. When metal money or coins were in circulation, counterfeiting was done by mixing base metals – copper, aluminum, lead, zinc, tin, and iron – with gold and silver, two metals that were predominantly used to make ancient coinages.

The practice of counterfeiting became more refined with the arrival of paper currency. One of the classic instances of monetary forgery comes from the World War II era, when the Nazis counterfeited American dollars and British pounds in huge quantities with the aim to destabilize the economies of both these countries. An enormous amount of counterfeit money is in circulation throughout the world even today, and some of it is of a really high quality, to make its identification all the more difficult, if not impossible.

Currency counterfeiting is a crime that continuously poses a threat to a
country’s economy and is a source of financial loss to its citizens. Some of the ill-effects that counterfeit money has on society are a reduction in the value of real money; and increase in prices (inflation) due to more money getting circulated in the economy – an unauthorised artificial increase in the money supply; a decrease in the acceptability of paper money; and losses, when traders are not reimbursed for counterfeit money detected by banks, even if it is confiscated.

At the same time, in countries where paper money is a small fraction of the total money in circulation, the macroeconomic effects of counterfeiting of currency may not be significant. The microeconomic effects, such as confidence in currency, however, may be large.

Failure to take significant action in combating counterfeiting can lead to uninsurable risk, which has a harmful effect on the reputation and functioning of a country’s central bank.