Drive to increase DDT use in malaria war has stalled

Roger Bate | 10 Nov 2007 | The Standard (Kenya)

It is one drug that has raised hue and cry just as much as it has saved lives. DDT, which is the short form of Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane has been used continually in public health programmes over the past 60 years. It has saved millions of lives from diseases such as malaria, typhus and yellow fever. Despite a public backlash in the 1960s, mainstream scientific and public health communities continued to recognise its utility and safety.

A long, hard road to the end of malaria in Africa

Jasson Urbach | 06 Nov 2007 | Business Day (South Africa)

There has been much written and said in the media recently about the successful development of a malaria vaccine and, considering the human misery and economic costs the disease continues to cause, the developments should be welcomed. The vaccine showing the most promise (known by its laboratory name of RTS,S) was first formulated more than 20 years ago and has been used in trials since 1992, but due to the tricky nature of the parasite, which is constantly evolving, outwitting modern medicine and the human immune system, the development of a successful vaccine has been a slow process of trial and error.

Last Chance for DDT

Roger Bate | 05 Nov 2007 | Wall Street Journal

Thanks to the pragmatism of African health officials and the efforts of some in the U.S. government, the insecticide DDT is still repelling and killing mosquitoes in Africa nations, saving thousands of people from malaria and other infectious diseases each year. But its days may be numbered. While the Bush administration and the World Health Organization have argued articulately in favor of DDT over the past two years, so-called environmentalists and those companies selling alternatives to DDT are pushing to prevent it from being deployed.

The Case for DDT

Roger Bate | 05 Nov 2007 |

Malaria is as old as mankind and still going strong, infecting hundreds of millions (and killing between one and three million) each year. A cure was known in 17th-century Europe. But because it was brought to the continent by Catholic missionaries (who actually learned of it from South American natives), many malaria sufferers, included Oliver Cromwell, thought the medicine was part of a "Popish plot" and refused to take it. Cromwell died of the disease in 1658. It took his death, and the subsequent curing of King Charles II, to shift public opinion in favor of "quinine," as the anti-malaria agent is now called.

Mind Over Malaria

Roger Bate | 17 Oct 2007 |

As the Gates Foundation meets this week, it should take a closer look at the 'global subsidy' campaign. The idea of a subsidy is worth discussing. But it would be terribly expensive—and, as currently envisaged, it could easily become counterproductive. The subsidy funds would probably be better spent on other priorities. Malaria is far cheaper to prevent in the first place than it is to treat.

Failure to Measure Up

Roger Bate | 17 Oct 2007 | National Review Online

At the end of September, The Lancet, a British medical journal, published papers demonstrating the United Nations's misuse of scientific information in relation to child mortality, and especially in relation to malaria. It is pleasing that the Lancet has exposed this misuse because it is a rare event — the exposure, not the misuse of data. More alarming, however, is that the U.S. media chose not to report on this significant abuse. One wonders if data manipulation from the U.S. government, on say, climate change, would receive no headlines as well.

AFM Response to "WHO Promotes DDT?"

Richard Tren | 14 Oct 2007 | The Lancet

Hans Overgaard and Michael Angstreich argue in The Lancet Infectious Diseases (subscription required) that the World Health Organization (WHO) has consistently provided support for the use of DDT for malaria control. AFM responds to their miseading an dishonest arguments about DDT and WHO as well as to their characterization of AFM as an organization that promotes DDT as a "panacea for the world's malaria problems" here.

Senate Punts on Anti-Malaria Initiative

| 13 Sep 2007 | Africa Fighting Malaria

On September 6, 2007, the US Senate rejected an attempt by Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) to restore $30 million in anti-malaria funding requested by the Bush Administration for its President's Malaria Initiative (PMI). Coburn sought to amend the State, Foreign Operations Appropriations bill for fiscal year 2008 (which begins October 1, 2007).

World Bank Wasted Money and Lives in Buying Wrong Medicine

Roger Bate & Amir Attaran | 12 Sep 2007 | Wall Street Journal

Your editorial "World Bank Corruption" and Bret Stephens's Global View column "Mind the GAP" (both on Sept. 4) expose the myriad illicit practices of some World Bank staff and contractors, particularly in Indian health projects supported by Western taxpayers. The methods used by these bad actors to obfuscate their actions and delay, often permanently, their exposure are interesting.

Archbishop Pius Ncube Resigns

None | 11 Sep 2007 | Africa Fighting Malaria

Bulawayo's Catholic Archbishop Pius Ncube has resigned his position as Archbishop following allegations of adultery.  Africa Fighting Malaria has worked with Archbishop Pius in the past to highlight the outrageous abuses of the Mugabe regime and to support his work to protect human rights and keep the hope of liberty alive in Zimbabwe.