You may have heard that print is dead, but one South Asian newspaper is showing how it can make a newspaper thrive -- and save lives at the same time.
Concerned about the rise of dengue fever -- a potentially fatal mosquito-borne virus that has such symptoms as high fever, severe headaches and nausea -- one Sri Lankan newspaper devised a way to protect its readers.
As many as 400 million people are infected with dengue fever each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Last year alone, 30,000 people in Sri Lanka contracted the virus.
But since there is no vaccine or specific treatment, prevention is key, according to the CDC, which was why Mawbima newspaper turned the pages of its publication into a lifesaving device.
The paper combined citronella essence -- a highly effective and all-natural repellent -- with the newspaper’s ink, enabling readers to coat their skin with a repellent that could keep mosquitoes away.
It introduced its first life-saving edition on World Health Day in April. Papers sold out by 10 a.m. and readership increased by 300,000 people, according to an ad released by the paper, which was produced by Leo Burnett Solutions.
This simple innovation could have a profound effect on preventing mosquito-borne illnesses worldwide.
Currently, Brazil is admonishing tourists and locals during the World Cup to be vigilant about taking protective measures against dengue, CNN reported.
Brazil has had the most cases of dengue in South America over the past 30 years, according to the news outlet.
But it isn’t just dengue that such an everyday preventative measure could help keep at bay.
Every 60 seconds, a child succumbs to malaria, another mosquito-borne disease.
While that is still a devastating statistic, malaria rates have actually declined significantly over the last decade, thanks to malaria control interventions.
Mortality rates have dropped by about 54 percent in Africa, according to USAID. In the past year alone, through the president’s malaria initiative, Americans have protected over 45 million people with such preventative solutions as insecticide-treated nets and indoor residual spraying.
It’s such simple solutions that have made the reduction in malaria one of the "greatest success stories" in global health, something perhaps dengue can also one day become if we get more advocates like Mawbima on board.