United States takes new view on DDT in Africa

U.S. government officials are enthusiastically endorsing and funding the use of DDT in sub-Saharan Africa after years of resisting calls from scientists who said the insecticide would be the best weapon for fighting malaria.

USAID, the federal government's lead agency in efforts to help African countries battle its deadliest disease, has substantially increased funding for DDT this year, including:

  • Nearly $10 million allocated for "indoor residual spraying," including DDT, in Mozambique, Ethiopia and Zambia.

  • Some $20 million will be used to finance indoor spraying with DDT and the other 11 insecticides authorised by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

  • Expectations of the President's Malaria Initiative (PMI) – which accounts for about one-third of USAID's total budget for malaria control – to finance DDT use in Angola later this year and in Uganda next year.

    DDT has its detractors however. Environmentalists would like USAID's malaria-prevention efforts focused primarily on handing out drug treatments and insecticide-treated bed netting to people living in areas at risk for heavy mosquito infestation.

    But Richard Green, director of the Office of Health, Infectious Diseases and Nutrition in USAID's global health bureau noted that the agency is still involved in those efforts, but indoor residual spraying, including the use of DDT, is a "much bigger" component than in the past.

    Source: Joyce Howard Price, U.S. takes new view on DDT in Africa, Washington Times, May 3, 2006.

    For text (subscription required): http://www.washingtontimes.com/national/20060503-122415-3878r.htm

    For more on Environment: http://eteam.ncpa.org/issues/?c=chemicals-and-health-risks

    FMF Policy Bulletin/ 09 May 2006
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