Let Ugandans use DDT

Nearly 70,000 Ugandans die every year because of malaria, but the European Union refuses to give the country the right to use the pesticide DDT to eradicate the disease, says Paul Driessen of the Heartland Institute.

In the 1950s, DDT helped eradicate malaria from Europe, the United States and many other countries and has been proven to be safe for human use, but many aid agencies and the European Union have banned it use, says Driessen:

  • In early 2005, the European Union's charge d'affairs for Uganda warned the country that if they used DDT, the EU would ban the import of any flowers, food or other agricultural products grown in the country.

  • This was supported by German chemical giant Bayer Crop Sciences – a leading manufacturer of insecticides more expensive and less effective than DDT.

  • It is also supported by the World Health Organization's Roll Back Malaria (RBM) coalition, which publicly shuns DDT even though evidence shows that an increase in disease and death rates from malaria is due in part to such policies.

    However, Uganda is not ready to fully bow to outside pressure, says Driessen:

  • Health Minister Jim Muhwezi is determined to use DDT since it has been proven, over and over again, to be the most effective and least expensive method of fighting malaria.

  • There is overwhelming evidence that malarious countries are being pressed by rich countries not to use DDT, says Don Roberts, professor of Tropical Public Health at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Maryland.

  • According to Sterling Burnett, senior fellow at the National Centre for Policy Analysis, the best thing Europe can do for African nations is stop arm-twisting them into forgoing the use of DDT; if they care about African lives they will allow DDT to start saving lives.

    Source: Paul Driessen, Uganda Fighting for Right to Eradicate Malaria, Heartland Institute, November 2005.

    For text: http://www.heartland.org/Article.cfm?artId=17983

    For more on Environment: http://eteam.ncpa.org/issues/?c=pesticides

    FMF Policy Bulletin/ 24 January 2006
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