Africa must spurn Cuba’s aid offer

CUBA has been in the news lately promoting a new plan to help African countries control and even eradicate malaria. The Cubans propose mosquito larvae control, which they hope will reduce mosquito populations and thereby halt the spread of the disease. The science simply does not support this approach. But with Cuba’s regime trampling the human rights of its own citizens, should we be surprised they don’t really care what might work to save lives in other countries?

Larvicide does have a place in malaria control. Indeed, SA’s world-class malaria control programme uses it in a limited way, in conjunction with other interventions. Larval control requires regular application of chemical and biological insecticides to mosquito breeding sites. But according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), "the consensus among vector control specialists, based on currently available evidence, is that in most situations, larviciding with universal coverage across large areas and populations is unlikely to be feasible". The WHO says: "In general, larviciding should be considered for malaria control only in areas where the breeding sites are few, fixed and findable."

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