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Award-winning student designs cot to prevent malaria

A Brunel Industrial Design and Technology student was inspired to design a life-saving cot after watching a BBC documentary about people living with malaria.

Christopher Harkin was shocked to learn that malaria was responsible for the deaths of 3,000 children every day, the majority of them under five.

He has now created a lightweight, self-assembly cot with a mesh that is four times stronger than traditional mosquito netting, to help reduce infant mortality in the developing world.

“I knew that malaria could naturally lead to death,“ said Christopher, “but the problems associated with it for countries like Africa and Cambodia are devastating.“

Cambodia in particular has the worst death rates from malaria and one of the highest rates to drug resistance in the world. The result of Chris's work is the Flat-Pack Malaria Prevention for Cambodia, an easy to assemble, rocking crib in a cube, like a play-pen.

Chris, who won an award at the European Student Designer Lighting Awards 2008, developed links with the charity, Help the Cambodian Children.

The charity's spokesperson Esme McCuaig said, “We feel this cot is a far superior protection for babies and small children than anything available at present.“

The Malaria Prevention Cot will be on show at the Made in Brunel design exhibition at the Business Design Centre, London N1, June 8, 9, 10.

For further details please contact Brunel University Press Office. Email:
To contact Christopher Harkin directly: Email

Further details about the Malaria Prevention Cot:
The cot is constructed of beech and is covered in an airy, double-skin mesh used in horticulture. The mattress is made of cotton.

The project was developed in association with Help the Cambodian Children, the World Medical Fund for Children and with help from UNICEF.