Deal with it

Published on December 1st, 2014

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When a blanket steps in to fight dengue

Two Mumbai based sisters and entrepreneurs are taking the gentle route to fighting dengue and malaria with a mosquito-repelling blanket.
by The Editors | editor@themetrognome.in

Mumbai is currently grappling with an unprecedented crisis brought on by the spread of dengue and malaria. The city has already reported almost 700 cases of dengue with almost 20 lives lost due to the dreaded illness. The malaria count is almost ten times more, say municipal authorities.

Adding to the fight against the disease, after mosquito-repelling sprays and fogging by BMC authorities, are two Mumbai sisters Shreya and Kasturi Poddar, who have created a mosquito-repelling blanket that is said to be an effective tool to fight mosquitoes. The blankets were recently distributed to underprivileged children from Ashok High School in Gurgaon last week.

Shreya and Kasturi PoddarShreya and Kasturi (in pic on left) are the directors of Nidra Home, makers of Mos-Quit-O blankes. After the distribution event, Shreya said, “Nobody is safe from dengue and malaria. Research suggests that even two inches of water, in a puddle or in a potted plant, is enough for a dengue mosquito to lay eggs. This means preventing dengue is impossible without a foolproof method of repelling mosquitoes inside every home.”

Mos-Quit-O has been developed and marketed by the entrepreneur sister duo who set up Nidra Home. After degrees in textiles and design (from the Chelsea College of Art and Design, London), a short stint with the Fashion Institute of New York and a general restlessness with the monotony of their family export business, Kasturi longed to do something never done before in retail. “During my research, I stumbled upon the concept of mosquito repellents embedded in fabric. That’s how Mos-Quit-O was conceived.” After year-long trials, chemical tests and technical specs were finalised, psychology post-graduate Shreya brought in her marketing acumen in the supply chain and distribution of the product. Nidra Home has recently launched a baby version of this blanket.

Mos-Quit-O claims to be free of odour and side effects. According to the World Health Organisation standards, Mos-Quit-O blankets have been deemed 100 per cent effective as a repellent even after 50 washes, and perfectly safe for infants and toddlers. “If you wash it once a month, Mos-Quit-O proves effective for more than four years,” Kasturi explains. The blanket is priced at Rs 1,999 and the baby blanket costs Rs 999.

“The blanket works out to be cheaper than plug-ins which require constant refills, expensive creams, ineffective wristbands or patches,” Kasturi explains. “It is especially convenient to repel mosquitoes around infants and toddlers on whom creams and plug-ins prove harmful.”

Said Shaina NC, BJP politician and spokesperson, who distributed blankets at the school, “There has been a steep rise in the numbers of dengue and malaria. I have observed that young children, often without access to clean amenities and hygienic surroundings, are most vulnerable. A large committed effort is needed to combat health issues in our city. At this point, creating awareness about mosquito prevention is most crucial.”

Mumbai in the grip of dengue and malaria:

– More than 690 cases of dengue detected in Mumbai.

– The city is the second to rural Chandrapur in being the worst-affected in Maharashtra.

– Surprisingly, 85 per cent of all cases have come from affluent and middle class localities in Mumbai and Bengaluru.

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