The Ugandan government is preparing its case regarding the use of DDT in Uganda. For now, use of the toxic chemical has been halted.
Protests in Lango over the use of DDT resulted in the detention and arrests of several people. Organic growers in Lango have considered suing the government for potential losses. Nine companies also have sued the government.
Accountability and corruption are also impediments to effectively managing health issues. The Global Health Fund is currently pressuring Uganda to return money that was pilfered from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria by government officials entrusted with the funds.
Uganda still has time to redeem itself and avoid further international embarrassment by utilizing a chemical that has been banned in most of the world.
Unless the Ugandan government wises up, Uganda’s “Gifted by Nature” slogan could soon change to “Sprayed by DDT.” DDT is bad for Uganda’s image, bad for business and bad for tourism.
~ Hellen Otii
. . the Bush Administration . . . recently changed the policy of the US Agency for International Development to increase reliance on DDT in its malaria programs. Bush Administration supporter Senator Tom Coburn was quoted in WHO’s press statement, which was released from Washington DC rather than WHO headquarters in Geneva.
“The recent shift in US policy reflects a well organized DDT promotion campaign by a handful of aggressive advocates,” says Kristin Schafer, Program Coordinator for Pesticide Action Network North America.
Three weeks after Uganda began spraying homes with DDT, as part of a controversial malaria-control program, a coalition of organic farmers and exporters sued the government for violating the World Health Organization’s (WHO) safety guidelines for spraying. Uganda derives 60% of its export revenue from organically grown coffee, cotton, produce and flowers. Its yearly $500 million market could be affected if DDT contaminates these export crops.
An organic cotton exporter told The East African that improper home spraying had contaminated “farm-tools, bicycles and produce.” A committee set up to assure compliance with WHO standards has apparently never met. Uganda (the only East African country using DDT to battle malaria) argues that DDT is 50% cheaper than a pyrethroid insecticide alternative.
In South Africa, Zambia and Ethiopia, DDT is sprayed in townships, far removed from agricultural areas. In Uganda, however, spraying is conducted in rural villages where crops are frequently grown.
Good news for northern Ugandan citizens.
“The High Court in Kampala has ordered the Ministry of Health to suspend the spraying of DDT until there is a ruling on a suit that seeks to stop the spraying of the chemical in northern Uganda.
According to the interim court order, issued last Friday by Justice Arach Amoko, any spraying of the insecticide will be “null and void or otherwise illegal”.
The article promotes the government’s preposterous view that DDT is not a toxic substance.
“There has been no compelling evidence of the harm posed by DDT to human health, and defenders of the chemical say that its public health benefits cannot be ignored.”
By Paul Amoru | Kampala
The government is embroiled in a court battle with nine companies from Lango over the use of Dichloro Diphenyl Trichloroethane (DDT), a chemical used to kill mosquitoes that transmit malaria in sub-Saharan Africa.
The companies sued the government for sanctioning the Indoor Residual Spraying of DDT in Lango sub-region.
May 6, 2008 Kakaire Kirunda (Monitor) Kampala
As the use of DDT to fight mosquitoes spreading Malaria in Uganda begins to take shape, it is emerging that men born to mothers exposed to lingering amounts of the pesticide might have an increased risk of getting testicular cancer.
This is according to a study published last week in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, in the USA. The cancer that affects young men in their 20s and 30s is said to be on the increase around the world.
“Because evidence suggests that testicular germ cell tumors (TGCTs) are initiated very early in life, it is possible that exposure to these persistent organic pesticides during fetal life or via breast feeding may increase the risk of TGCT in young men,” the findings read in part.
Researchers examined blood samples from 739 men in the U.S. military who had testicular cancer and 915 men who did not. They found that men with the highest levels of DDE (dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene), which is created when the environment or body breaks down DDT, were 70 per cent more likely to develop testicular cancer than those who had the lowest levels of DDE.
5 Loro organic workers arrested
By Ronald Odongo
Oyam, April 11, 2008: Police in Oyam district are holding about five organic workers attached to Loro Sub County for allegedly inciting people to resist the spraying of DDT in their individual houses.
Lawrence Odur 32, Salvatori Omara 36 all residents of Acan Pii parish in Loro Sub County were intercepted on Wednesday night by the security operatives who were deployed to crackdown anti DDT spray gangs in the district. Some organic staff are reported to be on the run due to fear of the police arrest, according to the district chief.
Colonel Charles Okello Engola the Oyam LC5 district chairperson says some people are going around deliberately mobilising local people against the spraying of the DDT insecticide in the district.
DDT spray is being piloted in the districts of Apac and Oyam to reduce mosquitoes. It was launched recently by the minister of Health Dr. Steven Malinga.
Engola says police are hunting for about three organic workers attached to Loro Sub County all accused of inciting people local people to wage war on the DDT spray team in the area. He says the exercise would help reduce malarial infections.
The spraying of DDT started last Friday in Oyam district. More than 3000 houses have been sprayed in the five sub counties of Minakulu, Loro, Aber, Achaba and Iceme.
Section of the district councilors are resisting the exercise claiming it has side effects that is very harmful to human life however they are not very specific on the side effect of the DDT drug.
However there is high resistance among some district councilors, LC5 Chairperson Col. Okello Engola has vowed to spray all the houses in the district.
Walter Omara an organic specialist argued that organic faming system has large coverage in Loro Sub County saying that the Oyam district leaders should carry massive sensitizations.
He added that local people are resisting the use of DDT themselves, contrary to what the district chairman has said.
The district leaders warned that police shall continue arresting some people who have launched business of decampaigning the exercise. Oyam district chief Colonel Engola urged Organic specialists to support the DDT spray in the district that the bid to reduce malarial infection in the district.
Districts Protest DDT Spray Over Organic Cotton
New Vision (Kampala) | NEWS 13 May 2008 | By Patrick Okino
Lira, Amolatar and Dokolo districts have protested the planned spray of DDT in their area, saying it would affect the production of organic cotton.
Johnson Engole, the chairman of Lango Cooperative Union, told the parliamentary committee on tourism, trade and industry last week that the use of DDT in Oyam and Apac districts was expected to reduce the volume of organic cotton this year.
“We are urging people in these areas (Oyam and Apac) to grow conventional cotton, not organic, because of the DDT that was sprayed,” Engole told the committee headed by Rose Munyira Wabwire at Ngetta ginnery.
DDT was sprayed in the districts last month to fight malaria. The MPs were touring cotton ginneries and historical places in Bugisu, Teso and Lango.