Ensuring Life, Health and Prosperity for Future Generations

> DDT or other solutions to Malaria Control

January 22, 2008

Pius Sawa Murefu, Kampala, Uganda

18th. Jan. 2008 – Malaria is still the number one killer disease in Sub-Saharan Africa despite tireless efforts to develop a vaccine that will stay the test of time. Uganda is one of the worst affected countries.

The use of chemicals like DDT to control mosquitoes is still a big battle between environmentalists and governments. In Uganda government says DDT is cheap and safe when applied in minimal amounts, but critics say the dangers of DDT are longtime and cannot be ruled out in whichever amount applied.

The Stockholm convention to which Uganda is a member was founded for the sole purpose of eliminating the use of DDT and related persistent organic pollutants.

In accordance with the convention, DDT can only be used at controllable levels when locally safe effective and affordable alternatives cannot be accessed. But it seems government of Uganda is determined to go ahead with the use of DDT in malaria control.

On January 14th 2008, Dr. Mayers Lugemwa from Malaria control program in the ministry of health announced that residual DDT spray in people’s houses would begin in February in Apac district in Northern Uganda.

But a group of environmental activists under their umbrella, Crusade For Environmental Awareness is up in arms and has filed a suit through two law firms, Birungi and co. Advocates and Kakuru and Co. Advocates to oppose this move. The leader of the crusade John Ken Lukyamuzi, a Wangari Maathai of Uganda, says the spray of DDT in people’s houses cannot commence till Uganda national implementation plans have met the standards of the Stockholm convention, which Uganda has ratified.

“Uganda is one of the countries richly endowed with environmentally friendly solutions to the scourge of malaria, and Uganda’s economy is environment based.” Says Lukyamuzi.

The Crusade is warning of the effect of DDT on the agricultural produce, the horticultural industry, the flower industry and the animal husbandry. Uganda’s fish industry, one of the main sources of foreign earnings, suffered a blow a few months ago when major importers rejected fish from Uganda after reported cases of deaths around Kampala due to fish poison.

The use of treated bed-nets has not yet been utilised fully in Uganda despite their affordability. The challenge remains as to whether government will achieve its goal of kicking malaria out through use of DDT.

Source: Commonwealth Health and Media


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