This week is malaria week and it is being remembered particularly by the Southern African Development Community. Chippla’s Weblog had an interesting piece last week on the "best and most effective way" of stopping the disease – killing the mosquito! This unfortunately requires reintroducing the dreaded DDT (Dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane) which is a banned pollutant despite its effectiveness.
USAID has become a magnate of malaria control by virtue of its deep pockets – but has little to show for the millions it spends. According to the WHO malaria in Africa has increased sharply in some African countries despite the intervention of USAID. The use of mosquito nets impregnated with insecticide are only effective if one assumes that people stay under the nets, the nets are not torn and are regularly re impregnated with insecticide.
Chippla is right when he says
"A continent like Africa needs to be sprayed with DDT. There should be a "Spray Africa Day" in which inhabited chunks of all countries (focusing on those with high malaria prevalence) are sprayed simultaneously. If necessary, this could be repeated every half-decade or so (the experts can advice on this). It’s time for the anopheles to go. Too much productivity hours are lost each year in Africa due to this tiny pest as well as hundreds of thousands of precious lives. A war on malaria should be a war on the female anopheles mosquito."
In Zambia DDT was used and the disease dropped by 75% in two years. Whatever the pollutant and environmental side affects are, and according to the editorial this is questionable, surely they cannot be worse than millions dying of malaria particularly children every year.