News / Africa

African Countries Debate Using DDT in Anti-Malaria Efforts

Some propose using pesticide in tightly controlled conditions

African children watch a play on malaria prevention at the Mbosse health clinic.
African children watch a play on malaria prevention at the Mbosse health clinic.

The chemical pesticide DDT has been banned by most countries for use in agriculture, but some continue to use it indoors to kill insects that carry malaria.

In Zambia, it’s an important part of the government’s malaria control program, and the controlled use of DDT spray has led to a reduction in malaria cases over the years.

Other African countries are facing a rise in the number of cases and several African governments are considering the carefully monitored use of DDT as part of their strategy against the disease.

In Malawi, for example, the Department of Health may undertake a DDT spray program in malaria prone-areas.

There is no doubt that DDT is very effective in killing mosquitoes.  The problem lies in what other effects DDT may have on human health, wildlife, environment, horticulture and crops.
Malawi’s secretary of health, Chris Kang’ombe, was part of a delegation that visited Zambia to learn how the use of DDT has helped reduce malaria there.

Kang’ombe is convinced that DDT can help reduce the spread of malaria in Africa -- if handled under controlled conditions by trained personnel and monitored by government agencies.

He says, “DDT is used for indoor spraying.  It is used to only spray within, inside the house, dwelling houses.  What we have learnt (from Zambia) and we know from our experience here (in Malawi), the other chemicals [are active for] up to about two or three months, whereas with DDT you are talking of six months plus. So in terms of “residue effect,” it (DDT) is better, and also eventually the cost of indoor spraying…will be much cheaper, more cost effective than using other chemicals. “

While authorities in Malawi are still considering using DDT in malaria control, a thorny issue has arisen.

The Tobacco Control Commission is against the idea of using the pesticide.  Tobacco is the mainstay of Malawi’s economy, and there’s fear that Western consumers will not buy it if there are any traces of DDT on the crops.  So the commission will likely require careful monitoring if Malawi is to start using DDT in malaria control.

Similar views are shared by Uganda’s Network on Toxic Free Malaria Control.  The network is against the use of DDT as a malaria control strategy.

“We have no law specifically for DDT,” says Network Secretary General Ellady Muyambi  . “ We have no trained manpower.  We do not have equipment in terms of transportation facilities, in terms of storage facilities, in terms of disposal facilities, in terms of laboratories for chromatography.   We do not have the capacity.  We are still relaying on donor funding and we are saying why can’t our country use its own resources to deal with its own problems, especially these ones like malaria.,” says Muyambi.

Also involved in the DDT debate is Kenya, another country debating whether to use the pesticide.

Shrikant  Bhatt professor of medicine at the University of Nairobi in Kenya explains why the controlled use of DDT should be reintroduced. “We are almost getting defeated by the pandemic that is occurring due to malaria.  [Anti-malarial] drugs are gaining resistance [to the parasite].  You know we have very few drugs which we can use as effective means of controlling malaria.  So, I think we do not have any option but to reintroduce DDT in a limited way, [like] spraying DDT indoors or using it in endemic areas we should be able to contain the malaria pandemic,” he explains.

The International Centre for Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE), also based in Kenya, is taking different approach.

John Githure a researcher at the centre says  “ICIPE is largely concentrating on how we can come up with innovative ways or even using available products to kill the mosquitoes at larval stage. “

One such product uses soil-dwelling bacteria called bacillus thuringiensis, or BTi.
Githure says ,”we are trying to introduce that in Africa and ICIPE have of course gone ahead to construct a demonstration factory that will be able to at least make the product BTi available, affordable and accessible to the community to use for mosquito control.”

Meanwhile, the government and various organizations including Melinda and Bill Gates Foundation are encouraging free distribution of insecticide-treated mosquito nets and sleeping under bed-nets as short term measure for malaria control.

For VOA Africa...I am Sanday Chongo Kabange in Lusaka, Zambia.


You May Like

Changing Under Pressure, IS ‘Potent’ as Ever

US intel officials describe Ramadi's fall as concerning, but say it isn't emblematic of larger effort to degrade IS capabilities More

Nigeria Fuel Shortage Shows Fragility of Africa’s Oil Giant

Although it is the largest oil producer in Africa, country has nearly ran out of fuel it needs to power its generators, cars and airplanes over the past week More

Arrested Football Officials Come Mainly From the Americas

US Justice Department alleges defendants participated in 24-year scheme to enrich themselves through corruption of international soccer More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Cari
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
George Putic
May 27, 2015 9:31 PM
Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.

VOA Blogs