To aid researchers looking for news from Africa on malaria and DDT, I’ll reproduce the entire news story from Uganda’s New Vision here. Stories from this outlet frequently trouble me, in the unquestioning way writers take quotes from people where a more probing reporter might be more skeptical. I am not sure of the status of New Vision among Uganda’s media, but it’s one of the few available to us here on a regular basis.
So, here’s the story, on DDT usage to fight malaria. A couple of points we need to remember: First, it’s clear that DDT is not banned in Uganda, and that DDT usage goes on, despite the crocodile tears of Richard Tren, Roger Bate, and the Africa Fighting Malaria, Astroturf™ group; second, this story relates difficulties in using DDT, including cost. It’s not that the stuff itself is expensive. DDT doesn’t work on all mosquitoes anymore, and it’s dangerous to much other wildlife. Malaria fighters must do serious work in advance to be sure the populations of mosquitoes targeted will be reduced by DDT — that is, that the bugs are not immune to DDT — and care must be taken to control the applications, to be sure it’s applied in great enough concentrations, and only indoors, where it won’t contaminate the wild.
DDT spraying costly for Uganda
Tuesday, 5th July, 2011
By Raymond Baguma and Gerald Kawemba
INDOOR residual spraying as a strategy to control malaria in Uganda is too costly and has affected the programme countrywide.
According to Dr. Seraphine Adibaku, the head of the Malaria Control Programme, this is why other malaria control strategies such as use of insecticide-treated nets and Artemisinin-based combination therapy are considered to be ahead of indoor residual spraying.
The Government is implementing the indoor residual spraying using pyrethrum-based and carbon-based insecticides in 10 malaria-endemic districts in the northern and eastern regions.
They include Amolatar, Apac, Kitgum, Kumi and Bukedea.
“About three million people in the 10 districts have been covered. We have reached over 90% of the population,” Adibaku said.
She added that under the Presidential Malaria Initiative, the budget for indoor residual spraying is sh4.5b per district each year.
Adibaku said it would be much cheaper if the ministry distributed insecticide-treated mosquito nets.
She, however, said indoor spraying has an advantage of delivering immediate impact compared to treated nets.
Adibaku disclosed that the health ministry is re-evaluating the effectiveness of using DDT for malaria control.
Dr. Joaquim Saweka, the World Health Organisation (WHO) resident representative in Uganda, said indoor residual spraying is highly effective and has been successful in Zanzibar and Rwanda.
He, however, added that it is capital intensive and needs a lot of money for each application done twice a year.
Saweka cited his previous posting in Ghana during which a town of 300,000 inhabitants required $3m for spraying each year.
He said with the high cost of spraying and low financial resources available, Uganda needs to prioritise usage of insecticide-treated mosquito nets.
Saweka added that Uganda is on the right path to eradicating malaria with efforts in prevention, diagnosis and treatment as well as universal coverage of insecticide-treated nets.
Health minister Dr. Richard Nduhura yesterday kicked off a nationwide programme to distribute 11,000 bicycles to health volunteers who will diagnose and treat malaria in homes. The programme is supported by the Global Fund.
It is part of the Government’s home-based management of malaria, which is part of a larger national strategy to deliver treatment to children within 24 hours after diagnosis.