In Sri Lanka, as in many tropical countries, the fight against dengue fever continues to be a difficult one. Where no vaccine or medicine has been found to treat the mosquito-borne disease, a simple but brilliant design solution is now saving lives. Say hello to the world’s first ever mosquito-repellent newspaper.

This fantastic idea is the creative effort of one of Sri Lanka’s most popular newspapers, Mawbima, who, together with Leo Burnett Sri Lanka, found that Citronella essence (a natural mosquito repellent) could be mixed with printing ink. Bolstered by this discovery, Mawbima launched a campaign to bring these mosquito-repellent prints to the masses.

The first run of the campaign included a series of citronella coated print ads and posters with educational messages about dengue. As they covered bus stops around the country, they turned them into mosquito-free shelters.

Based on the success of these posters, Mawbima decided to print an entire copy of its morning and evening newspapers using ink mixed with citronella for World Health Day. Apart from the direct protection offered by the paper, readers would find articles with information on the disease and how they can further prevent infection. The cherry on the cake came in the form of a 30 percent increase in sales of the newspaper, along with a 300,000 increase in readership. In fact, they managed to sell out the morning paper by 10am.

What more can you ask for? Only more print runs!