A Provo company is doing its part to stop the spread of malaria in developing countries.
Aptive Environmental, a Provo-based environmentally-conscious pest control company, donated $250,000 to the United Nations Nothing But Nets campaign Sept. 29. Nothing But Nets works to stop the spread of malaria transmitted by mosquitoes.
According to Nothing But Nets information, a child dies every two minutes from malaria, which is a disease caused by a single mosquito bite. Malaria is preventable and treatable, and almost unheard of in the United States. But in Africa, it is a prevalent killer.
World Health Organization data indicates that there were an estimated 216 million cases of malaria in 91 countries in 2016, which was an increase of five million cases over 2015. Each year, about 445,000 people die from malaria, and the African region carries a disproportionately high share of the global malaria burden. In 2016, the region was home to 90 percent of malaria cases and 91 percent of malaria deaths.
The Nothing But Nets organization delivers insecticide-treated bed nets and other malaria prevention tools and treatment to afflicted areas in Africa, South America, the Middle East and Asia. At just $10 each, the bed nets are a simple solution that protects families while they sleep. The physical barrier guards against malaria-carrying mosquitoes, and the insecticide woven into the nets kills the mosquitoes before they can transmit the disease.
Vess Pearson, Aptive CEO, read about the organization in Sports Illustrated, and knew he wanted his company to get involved. He believes people can join forces and prevent these deaths.
“It was a perfect partnership for us, given we are in pest control. And these malaria-carrying mosquitoes are deadly pests,” Pearson said in a phone interview last week.
Pearson started donating a portion of Aptive’s profits to the campaign, before adding fun fundraisers, like a free-throw contest and the like. This year, he wanted to up their involvement.
“We got all our sales people involved this year, and invested in software so we could take donations through our selling platform. Employees, sales reps and customers donated,” Pearson said.
Pearson said Aptive employs about 1,000 people. During the peak selling season, that number jumps to about 3,000. This year’s fundraising efforts yielded the most Aptive funds towards the campaign.
“I think it’s cool how a company — if you think outside the box — you can be involved in a charity, more than just writing a check,” Pearson said. “Writing a check, there’s really no growth for your people. A cause like this brings you all together. It has a unifying effect.”
The Aptive donation provided 25,000 nets to families in areas affected by this disease.