Since the environmentalists insisted on banning the use of DDT in Africa in fighting malaria, the malaria cases have more than tripled. Now, Uganda is one country that is fighting back and planning on using DDT again to fight the disease. However, the EU has said it may impose trade restritions with Ugandda if it does. This from the UN news site:
Environmentalists against the use of the pesticide DDT could harm efforts to eradicate malaria in Uganda, the minister of health, Jim Muhwezi, said on Monday.
If environmentalists continued to pressure donors to discourage the use of DDT, he said on Africa Malaria Day, “Any efforts to roll back malaria would be fruitless”.
“DDT has been proven, over and over again, to be the most effective and least expensive method of fighting malaria,” he told IRIN. “Europe and America became malaria free because of using DDT, and now we too intend to get rid of malaria by using it.”
He added, “Cases have continued to increase since launching the ‘Roll Back Malaria’ programme in 1998, from 5.5 million to 16.5 million in 2004.”
Although Europe and the US used DDT to eradicate malaria, they banned its use decades ago, over fears that it could be harmful to the environment.
On its website, the conservation organization, WWF, says it has found “sufficient evidence of hazards to human health and wildlife to justify a global ban on the production and use of DDT”…
…Uganda intended to use DDT only indoors, as recommended by WHO.
Moreover, he said, the pesticide would initially be sprayed in pilot areas before being used countrywide…
…the disease has become more complicated with patients developing high resistance to common malaria drugs.
“Chloroquine and fansidar are no longer effective against malaria,” he told IRIN on Friday.
He added that part of the $66-million the country recently secured from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria, would be used to buy more effective drugs.
Muhwezi said lack of access to health centres was another cause of many malaria deaths. He added that by June, the government planned to double – from 30 percent – the number of patients able to access medical attention within 24 hours of the onset of the disease’s symptoms.
DDT would be used, Muhwezi said, in conjunction with insecticide-treated bednets. The government has already distributed 1.4 million nets free, while another 600,000 have been sold through the private sector.
The chief of the EU mission in Uganda, Sigurd Illing, said there could be dire consequences for the country’s exports to Europe – which account for more than 30 percent of Uganda’s total exports – if DDT was detected in export commodities such as horticultural produce.
Asked if the government feared the loss of trade with the EU, Muhwezi said: “We are confident that because we plan to follow WHO regulations regarding the use of DDT, we will have no problems on that issue.”