Our proprietary brand NovaVeil is a new vector control method already getting traction in industrialized markets. We are simultaneously doing pilots (first El Salvador with Americare and then Uganda and Ethiopia) to test user acceptability.
Maternova recently distributed a large number of our NovaVeil apparel in the New Life Birth Center in Uganda, a maternity center in an urban slum where malaria is endemic and the poverty rate means that people are living on less than $2 per day.
The response was overwhelmingly positive among the 52 women who tested the products. The participants commented upon the soft cotton of the NovaVeil apparel and after wearing at home, noticed that the garment immediately repelled mosquitoes. One woman sat in the same spot where mosquitoes usually come, but noted that "while wearing the NovaVeil leggings, they didn’t bother her." Though wearing just one garment, mosquitoes stayed away from her entire body. The shawl was the favorite product from NovaVeil, and leggings were the least favorite. We speculate that this is because leggings are an unfamiliar product to these women. However, peer pressure was in effect, as when women saw others wearing them, they became more interested. Importantly, families living in this urban slum area expressed willingness to pay for the NovaVeil textile because they understood the ability of the textile to repel mosquitoes during the day. Mobile tailors in the area have expressed interest in wanting to work with bolts of the textile. In addition, women have noted that when they are finished wearing the garments they would like to cut up the garment into smaller pieces of clothing to protect their other children.
After a smaller pilot, Ethiopian nuns have also shown interest in NovaVeil products. In this setting, the nuns run a social enterprise that involves tailoring, meaning that bolts of the NovaVeil textile can be delivered and sewn locally. In Niger, additional interest was garnered for the NovaVeil textile, though price point was a major sticking point, here as much as elsewhere. Key to the development of NovaVeil will be a business model that allows local tailoring to keep the price as low as possible and to ensure the clothing is a good fit for local tastes.
With this new data, Maternova is going to make improvements to the NovaVeil design before doing a wider experimental study and potentially a randomized control trial to test efficacy in comparison to currently available prevention methods. In the Uganda pilot, there was an expressed desire for potential new patterns and prints, as well as more form-fitting garments. Maternova is also exploring an opportunity to make NovaVeil school uniforms with a test run at a school on the outskirts of Kampala.
Author Shae Janiga
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