Achieving the MDGs
Vestergaard Frandsen believes strongly in humanitarian responsibility. Our commitment to the UN's Millennium Development Goals drives our business objectives and provides the impetus for our continued focus on innovation. We strive towards developing life-saving tools which, when implemented together with other dedicated partners, contribute to realising each of the eight MDGs. In particular, our September 2008 Integrated Prevention Demonstration saw Vestergaard Frandsen's first use of concept architecture to further the MDGs.
Goal 1: Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
84% of the population without access to an improved source of drinking water lives in rural areas1. Malaria imposes a growth penalty of 1.3% per year on some African nations by incapacitating the workforce, leading to decreased productivity2. The macroeconomic impact of HIV/AIDS is estimated to reduce the annual growth rate of GDP in sub-Saharan African countries by 0.8% to 1.4% per year3.
PermaNet® long-lasting insecticidal nets and curtains and LifeStraw® safe water interventions minimise the risk of vector-borne and waterborne disease respectively, promoting economic gain by reducing healthcare expenses and increased productivity.
Goal 2: Achieve universal primary education
443 million school days are lost each year due to water-related illness4. African children have between 1.6 and 5.4 episodes of malarial fever each year, preventing them from regularly attending school5.
The consumption of safe drinking water through LifeStraw® prevents children from acquiring diarrhoea and other waterborne diseases. Sleeping under a PermaNet® bednet every night helps ensure that children wake up healthy each morning to continue their education.
Goal 3: Promote gender equality and empower women
The average distance that women in Africa and Asia walk to collect water is 6 km6. Moreover, the average weight of water that these women carry on their heads can be anything up to 20kg - the equivalent of your airport luggage allowance7. The task of obtaining and carrying water over long distances robs women and young girls of dignity, energy, and time.
LifeStraw® and LifeStraw® Family empower women and girls by facilitating access to safe drinking water. LifeStraw® Family works on highly turbid water, which allows women to convert 'dirty' water collected from any nearby source into a drinkable one.
Goal 4: Reduce child mortality
Every 30 seconds a child dies from malaria. It is estimated that 5.5 lives could be saved for every 1,000 children that are protected by insecticide-treated nets8. Diarrhoeal diseases claim more than 6,000 lives per day-most of them children under five9. The risk of dying from diarrhoea is 11 times greater for infants who are HIV-infected10.
Randomized trials of bednets have shown a 50% reduction in malaria and a 17% reduction in all cause mortality among children11. Our annual production of PermaNet® 2.0 long-lasting insecticidal nets has the potential to save the lives of countless children per year. Point-of-use water filters have been shown to reduce incidence of diarrhoea by 64%12. LifeStraw® and LifeStraw® Family are both point-of-use water filters,
Goal 5: Improve maternal health
Some 50 million pregnant women are exposed to malaria each year, with malaria in pregnancy contributing to nearly 20% of low birth weight babies in endemic areas13. In Africa, up to 200,000 newborn deaths occur as a result of malaria in pregnancy14.
Studies have shown that when compared to a situation in which no nets were used, ITNs such as PermaNet® reduce the rate of miscarriage/ stillbirth by 33%15.
Goal 6: Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases
HIV/AIDS has killed more than 25 million people; over 33 million people are currently living with the disease16. Malaria poses a threat to more than 2.1 billion people and claims 1.1 million lives each year17. HIV infection has been linked to a doubling in the frequency of malaria and lower CD4-cell counts are associated with a greater risk of malaria18. Diarrhoea, a very common symptom of HIV and AIDS, affects 90% of people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) and results in significant morbidity and mortality19 ,20. HIV testing and counselling rates remain low in many countries. In 2003, it was estimated that only 0.2% of adults in low- and middle-income countries received voluntary HIV counselling and testing services21.
Consistent use of insecticide-treated nets is associated with reduction in cases of malaria and all cause mortality among children22. The use of safe drinking water is associated with 25% reduction in episodes of diarrhoea, 33% reduction in days with diarrhoea and 24% reduction in episodes of diarrhoea with blood or mucous in stool23. Male latex condoms provide approximately 80-90% protection, when used consistently24. Vestergaard Frandsen's CarePackTM is comprised of evidence-based interventions such as PermaNet® long-lasting, insecticidal net, LifeStraw® Family instant microbiological purifier, condoms and co-trimoxazole prophylaxis, which together have the potential of delaying the progression of HIV to AIDS. Our Integrated Prevention Demonstration campaign in rural Kenya used free distribution of CarePackTM as an incentive to break social stigma attached to HIV testing. More than 80% of the 15-49 year-old target population attended the campaign, out of which 95% were voluntarily tested and counselled for HIV.
Goal 7: Ensure environmental sustainability
The spraying of chemicals to halt the spread of malaria-transmitting mosquitoes is on the rise. Plastic bags, which are commonly used to package long-lasting insecticidal nets, are left scattered after large-scale bednet distributions, resulting in clogged landfills and choked rivers.
VF's vector portfolio is made up of products that are fully factory-treated, low-pollution tools that reduce the risk of both human and environmental exposure to dangerous chemicals often used in malaria prevention. Moreover, PermaNet® bednets are packaged in eco-friendly oxo-biodegradable plastic bags, which are 100% degradable, non-toxic and recyclable.
Goal 8: Develop a global partnership for development
90% of current innovation is geared toward the target group of wealthy individuals in the developed world, while only 10% is focused on the developing world.
Vestergaard Frandsen invests heavily in the research and development of lifesaving tools for global health. We work in close partnership with the UN, NGOs, and governments to ensure that these tools are appropriate, effective, and reach those who need them most. Vestergaard Frandsen's Integrated Prevention Demonstration campaign combining voluntary HIV counselling and testing (HCT) with distribution of CarePackTM was a result of joint partnership between the civil society, Kenya MoH and private sector. This campaign tested 80.2% of the 15-49 years target population within one week, successfully contributed towards the Kenyan national scale-up plan for voluntary HCT that aims to test 80% of Kenya's adult population by 2010.
1. WHO and UNICEF Publication 'Meeting the MDG Drinking Water and Sanitation Target - The Urban and Rural Challenge of the Decade' 2006
2. WHO, 2000 "The Abuja Declaration and the Plan of Action in The Africa Summit on Roll Back Malaria", RBM Partnership Secretariat.
3. RBM Partnership Secretariat, The Abuja Declaration and the Plan of Action in The Africa Summit on Roll Back Malaria, 2000, WHO2 Over, Mead, 1992. The Macroeconomic impact of AIDS in Sub-Saharan Africa, The World Bank, Technical Working Paper No. 3.
4. Human Development Report 2006
5. Murphy SC, Breman JG, 2001. Gaps in the childhood malaria burden in Africa: cerebral malaria, neurological sequelae, anemia, respiratory distress, hypoglycemia, and complications of pregnancy. American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, 64(1-2 Suppl):57-67.
6. Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council
7. Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council
8. Lengeler, C, 2004. Insecticide-treated bed nets and curtains for preventing malaria, Cochrane Database Systematic Review. 2: CD000363. Cochrane Database Systematic Reviews.
9. UNICEF 2008, Child Survival Fact Sheet:Water and Sanitation.
10. Thea, D.M. et al (1993). A prospective study of diarrhea and HIV-1 infection among 429 Zairian infants. New England Journal of Medicine 329(23):1696-702.
11. Mermin, J. et al. Effect of cotrimoxazole prophylaxis, antiretroviral therapy, and insecticide-treated bednets on the frequency of malaria in HIV-1-infected adults in Uganda: a prospective cohort study. Lancet. 2006 Apr 15;367(9518):1256-61.
12. Interventions to improve water quality for preventing diarrhoea (Review) © 2006 The Cochrane Collaboration. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
13. Crawley et al (2007).
14. Ribera, JM et al, 2007. Malaria in pregnancy: what can the social sciences contribute? PLoS Medicine 4(4) e92.
15. Gamble et al, 2007. Insecticide-Treated Nets for the Prevention of Malaria In Pregnancy: A Systematic Review of Randomised Controlled Trials, PloS Medicine 4(3), e107.
16. UNAIDS report, 2007
17. World Health Organization
18. Whitworth, J. et al. Effect of HIV-1 and increasing immunosuppression on malaria parasitaemia and clinical episodes in adults in rural Uganda: a cohort study. Lancet 2000; 356: 1051-56.
19. Katabira, E.T. (1999). Epidemiology and management of diarrheal disease in HIV-infected patients. International Journal of Infectious Disease 3(3):164-7.
20. Monkemuller, K.E. & Wilcox, C.M. (2000). Investigation of Diarrhea in AIDS. Canadian Journal of Gastroenterology 14(11):933-40.
21. UNAIDS report, 2007
22. Lengeler C. (2004). Insecticide-treated bed nets and curtains for preventing malaria. The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, Issue 2, Art. no. CD000363.
23. Lule, J.R. et al. Effect of home-based water chlorination and safe storage on diarrhea among persons with human immunodeficiency virus in Uganda. Am. J. Trop. Med. Hyg 73(5): 926-933, 2005.
24. Hearst, N. & Chen, S. Condom promotion for AIDS prevention in the developing world: is it working? Stud Fam Plann 2004;35:39-47