Mail & Guardian
June 27, 2007
As the wife of the United States president tours Africa, she will be shining a spotlight on malaria as well as Aids. While the former does not grab the same headlines, it far outstrips Aids as the continent's biggest child killer, claiming one young life every 30 seconds.
The malaria toll is numbing: between 300-million and 500-million cases and one million deaths each year; in some African countries it accounts for up to half of all hospital admissions; its economic cost is an estimated $12-billion per year.
But slowly, hope is emerging because of new political will, more funding from programmes like US President George Bush's malaria initiative, better drugs and more powerful anti-mosquito weapons -- including the pesticide DDT, long reviled but now rehabilitated by the international health community.
During her stay in Mozambique on Wednesday, Laura Bush was due to visit a site near the Mozal aluminium smelter, where authorities want to spray house walls with DDT to ward off mosquitoes, using funds from the US malaria initiative that commits $1,2-billion over the next five years. Of the target 15 countries, about half are expected to use some of the money to spray with insecticides.
Around the globe, the production and distribution of substandard and counterfeit drugs is a vast, increasing and largely underreported, problem. Adulterated medicines contain little or none of the active ingredients found in their branded equivalent, and often have adverse health effects.
The debate over eradication versus control has been played out before
and politicians hoping to hitch their wagons to the eradication star
would do well to understand some of the important disease control
Laura Bush plans to visit a site near the Mozal aluminum smelter, where
authorities want to spray house walls with DDT to ward off mosquitoes,
using funds from the U.S. Malaria Initiative that commits $1.2 billion
over the next five years.
The Global Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria held its annual award ceremony in splendid style at the Natural History Museum in New York City. The star-studded event was chaired by Amy Robbins and included speeches by Richard Branson and a rapping duet by Jamie Foxx and Doug E. Fresh...
AFM's Roger Bate comments on Robert Zoellick's new role as head of the World Bank. He suggests, "To make people healthier, he should step back and let other organizations take the lead".
It is good to remind ourselves that DDT was internationally used in the 1950s and 1960s during a time of unprecedented population growth and wealth creation. Wherever DDT has been used, death and disease rates have fallen.
David A. Fahrenthold quoted me in his May 23 Metro article "Rachel Carson Bill From Cardin on Hold" but misunderstood my point. While one cannot blame Rachel Carson for things done in her name after her death, she was undoubtedly wrong about DDT and a host of other issues. She was known to be wrong in 1972, 10 years after "Silent Spring" was published, as the back cover of the 1972 Penguin version acknowledged.
American Idol's "Idol Gives Back" special on April 24 and 25 helped raise over $60 million to fight poverty in America and Africa. As season five comes to a close tomorrow, fans should be asking where their money went and what the impact on poverty will be.
Read more »
The Food and Drug Administration recently approved
a rapid diagnostic malaria test, the first of its
kind approved in the United States.
Last week in Germany, G-8 leaders committed new resources to the fight against the mosquito-borne disease and promised to use every available tool. Now they must honor this promise by supporting African independence in the realm of disease control. We must be able to use DDT.
Following the Environmental Impact Assessment review and the subsequent public hearing/debate on Indoor Residual Spraying DDT, the National Environmental Management Authority approved the use of DDT for Indoor Residual Spraying.
The artesunate family of drugs is, quite simply, the only real weapon mankind has left in the fight against one of its most deadly diseases. Unless drug piracy is defeated, even that last weapon could be taken away.
After decades of fighting malaria in a grinding war of attrition, Li Guoqiao and a team of Chinese medical researchers are confident that the world has the weapons to defeat the disease. But they are convinced that the tactics are flawed.
Read more »
University of Toronto researchers have uncovered the basis by which pregnant women protect themselves against malaria and have also discovered how the HIV virus works to counteract this defence.
When the World Health Assembly of health ministers from around the globe gathers this month in Geneva, of particular concern should be the performance of its parent organization, the World Health Organization (WHO). Thirty years ago, WHO celebrated its greatest triumph: the eradication of smallpox. Not only has this victory not been repeated, but today WHO rarely comes close to achieving its targets in combating disease.
With the notable exception of the US Agency for International Development and the United Kingdom's Department for International Development almost all OECD donor agencies lack transparency in and accountability for malaira control spending.
The World Health Organization Pesticide Evaluation Scheme has published an official response to AFM's Occasional Paper, "WHOPES and Its Impact on Long-lasting Insecticidal Net Availability", reaffirming the WHO's technical role in reviewing new LN technologies.
Setting targets has emerged in recent years as a key fundraising tool for disease-control programs, but available evidence shows that most health targets are immeasurable or not measured.
Read more »