Portable exposure-free huts to protect itinerant rice farmers from mosquito-borne illnesses: reducing disease and improving productivity
Migratory rice farmers in rural Tanzania often spend weeks or months in their distant rice fields tending to their crops. Usually, they bring with them young children below school-going age. While there, they live in semi-open structures, and are exposed to high densities of mosquito bites. The farmers also lack access to organized health care while in their distant rice field.
In this project we are developing and testing portable mosquito-proof huts that are: 1) easy to transport and install, 2) large enough to accommodate an average itinerant rice farming family, 3) well ventilated and comfortable, and 4) have basic reproducible architecture that can be manufactured and marketable locally. We also explore practical ways in which this portable hut technology can be implemented in the rice farming communities in low- income areas. The research also includes: 1) an initial entomological assessment to quantify and compare actual mosquito bite exposure between the temporary structures currently used by these farmers and regular houses used in their home villages. 2) A sociological and anthropological assessments of views, opinions, experiences and behaviours of the itinerant rice farmers regarding mosquito borne illnesses such as malaria, and their preferred options of controlling such illnesses and mosquito bites, 3) Observations to compare microclimatic conditions and indicators of comfort (e.g. temperature and humidity inside the prototype huts and current farm structures) and 4) assessment of community perspectives towards these prototypes and exploration of suitable financing mechanisms that can guarantee regular manufacture, supply and effectiveness of this technology, at local community level.
At the end of this project, we aim to have a fully functional prototype of portable mosquito-proof huts that meet the desirable characteristics and preferences of targeted users, and can reduce mosquito-biting exposure by at least 80%.