Ensuring Life, Health and Prosperity for Future Generations

> DDT Agenda is Suspicious

The Monitor (Kampala)

OPINION / 10 May 2007

By Ellady Muyambi

I have heard Ministry of Health officials agitating for the re-introduction of DDT in Uganda in order to fight malaria. DDT cannot be a solution to this problem.

We submitted our petition to the National Environment Management Authority (Nema) for failing to observe the required standards. Government must employ DDT alternatives. For example, using pyrethrins.

Some people have argued that these are expensive, but in reality they are cheaper than DDT. All you need to do is to compute the cost of implementing the WHO recommendation for applying DDT for IRS. Secondly, there has not been mass production of these products basically because there are no legal provisions for biocides.

John and Johnson of USA signed a contract with the WHO board to deliver 60,000 tons every year. The company, however, is not obliged to buy the stocks but the stocks have to be there – a silly contract? No it is not, it was meant to stifle the development of pyrethrin based products for malaria control especially at the height of the negotiations for the Stockholm Convention. This was meant to create the impression that there was no product which could replace DDT.

I was appalled at the level of ignorance of some Ministry of Health officials. They are convincing people that DDT wiped out mosquitoes in the US. Have they visited the US in summer? Secondly, In early 2000, there was an outbreak of encephalitis transmitting mosquitoes in New York and Mayor Rudi Guilliani contemplated using DDT but never due to public pressure.

Any entomologist will tell you that IRS can only work in episodic malarial regions and in these places mosquito density peaks at certain as is the case in South Africa, where contrary to popular opinion they have not wiped out malaria with DDT spraying.

The writer is General Secretary, Uganda Network on Toxic Free Malaria Control.


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