Evaluation of a mosquito-repellent ointment to fight malaria

MAÏA® is a locally-developed mosquito-repellent ointment in the precertification phase of the World Health Organization, created by the social company MAÏA Africa SAS, based in Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso. Innovations for Poverty Action is conducting an impact evaluation to assess the willingness to pay for the ointment in order to ascertain demand and appropriate level of subsidy to maximize use, and to measure significant effects of the MAÏA® ointment on health.

Why take action ?

In Sub-Saharan Africa, malaria is one of the deadliest diseases, affecting mainly children and pregnant women, with consequences on both mother and child. In 2018, the World Health Organization (WHO) Africa Region accounted for 94% of malaria deaths among which 67% were children under 5 years old (World Malaria Report, 2019).

After years of decline, the number of malaria cases more than doubled between 2010 and 2019, reaching 65.6 million cases in West Africa (World Malaria Report, 2020). Besides its health burden, the economic impact of malaria is estimated to cost Africa $12 billion every year (J L Gallup and al, 2001).

Insecticide-treated nets are regarded as the most effective means to control mosquitoes transmitting the malaria parasite. However, studies show that a growing share of mosquitoes resist insecticides (Patrick Ojuka and al, 2015; TL Russel and al, 2011). The distribution of insecticide treated nets alone is not enough anymore; the World Health Organization has indicated that complementary tools are needed for protection of people from malaria.

Evidence-based implemented innovation

MAÏA® is a locally-developed mosquito-repellent ointment that complements insecticide-treated nets by leveraging existing norms involving use of lotion in the precertification phase of the World Health Organization. Led by Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) with Paris Dauphine-PSL University and Burkinabè Research Institute of Health Sciences (IRRS), the proposed study aims to measure the effects:

  • of MAÏA® mosquito-repellent ointment on health and labour outcomes;
  • of prices on the adoption of MAÏA® mosquito-repellent ointment, measured by both purchase and use.

FID’s funding will allow MAIA Africa SAS to produce the quantities of ointment necessary for the study, partners to subsidize the ointment for the households engaged in the study, and IPA to conduct the impact evaluation. IPA will rely on survey data collected from 3,000 households where there is at least one child aged 0-3 and living next to a selling point.


pected impact and key learnings

The impact evaluation of the MAÏA® ointment will help define the appropriate level of subsidy, which will encourage the purchase and maximize the use of the anti-mosquito ointment. It will also allow to evaluate the impact of the ointment on the health and well-being of the people using it, especially children and mothers. The key long-term goal is a significant reduction of community-based malaria transmission, improvement of mothers’ labor participation, and children’s health.

Regarding impact at scale, MAIA Africa SAS has already developed various complementary pathways to scale, based on community, financial partnerships with corporate and private investors, and the WHO Pre-qualification process. The proposed study has the potential to consolidate the business model and improve the impact at scale of MAÏA® by generating evidence that will inform market viability and sustainability and leverage potential to convince decision makers in the public sector.


Image credits : IPA team

Presentation of the team

Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) is a non-profit organization founded in 2002 which designs and implements rigorous impact evaluations to test the effectiveness of development programs. IPA has developed a deep expertise in conducting evaluations, from the initial idea to publishing results and supporting the appropriation, replication and scale up by development partners and governments. It has 22 established country offices, including 7 in West Africa.

The project will be conducted by Innovations for Poverty Action’s Burkina Faso team, which has local knowledge and expertise to ensure effective implementation, in close collaboration of the involved partners including: Maïa Africa SAS, the Research Institute of Health Sciences (IRSS) and Paris Dauphine-PSL University.