What we do

The Building out Vector-Borne Diseases in sub-Saharan Africa (BOVA) network is funded by the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) and aims to stimulate research in the area of vector-borne diseases and the built environment.

Vector-borne diseases such as malaria and those transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes such as dengue and Zika are common in tropical and sub-tropical regions and disproportionately affect the poor. Traditional methods of controlling these diseases include diagnosis and effective treatment and interventions such as bednets treated with insecticides. However, these tools are not sufficient to eliminate these diseases and insects are becoming more resistant to the insecticides we are using against them.

Improvement of the built environment can play a role in controlling vector-borne diseases, for example by screening doors and windows and preventing accumulation of standing water around the home. However, vector-borne disease experts and epidemiologists remain largely divorced from architects, urban planners, development experts, industry, local stakeholders and decision-makers in endemic countries. Our main goal is therefore to make these linkages and stimulate inter-sectoral collaboration by forming an interdisciplinary network of stakeholders with an interest in reducing vector-borne diseases through improving the built environment.

We will do this by providing small-scale funding for research in this field, particularly among African scientists and advocating to diverse sectors including the building sector, industry, development agencies and African and international policymakers. This research has the potential to improve the health of millions of people living in sub-Saharan Africa.