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

    Video Rubio Looks to Surge in New Hampshire

    Republican presidential candidate has moved into second place in several recent surveys and appears to be gaining ground on longtime frontrunner Donald Trump

    UN Calls for Global Ban on Female Genital Mutilation

    Recent UNICEF report finds at least 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone female genital mutilation in 30 countries

    UN Pilots New Peace Approach in CAR

    Approach launched in northern town of Kaga Bandoro, where former combatants of mainly Muslim Seleka armed group and Christian and animist anti-Balaka movement are being paid to do community work

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

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.