Uganda: DDT Sprayed in Oyam

Patrick Opio | 15 Apr 2008
New Vision
Indoor spraying of DDT, an insecticide used to fight malaria, has been launched, with a warning to environmentalists to stop decampaigning the programme.

Presiding over the launch in Oyam district last Friday, health minister Stephen Malinga said the exercise would cover 15 other districts.

He revealed that donors were willing to help the country eliminate malaria in the next 10 to 15 years.

"We have the opportunity to use DDT together with nets and medicine to get rid of malaria. Thereafter, we shall not need DDT."

Malinga pointed out that malaria posed a great threat to life, especially to pregnant women and children.

He said malaria causes children to suffer repeated fevers, anemia and brain damage: "If the child survives the infection, it may still fail to grow well or excel in school."

The minister said of the one million deaths caused by malaria in the world annually, 90% of them occur in Africa, claiming 3,000 lives daily.

He said Oyam and Apac districts had the highest malaria infection rates in the country, with four people catching the disease every night.

Malinga explained that the Government was using DDT to fight malaria, after it successfully worked in southern Africa.

He said critics should consider the hypothetical risks of spraying the chemical alongside the losses caused by malaria.

The European Commission, Malinga observed, had backed the use of the chemical, although some groups from that continent "continue to tell lies abut the chemical".

Several environmentalists have opposed spraying the chemical, saying it endangers human and plant life.

Farmers, Malinga said, would be sensitised on proper storage of their produce to avoid contamination by the chemical.

"The commercial sector should support local farmers to store their produce safely."

He also urged the civil society to help popularise the programme. Malinga thanked the George Bush Presidential Malaria Initiative for backing the programme.

Present were the director of health services, Keyya Mugisha, WHO representative Charles Katureebe, MPs Beatrice Lagada, Isa otto and Angiro Gutmoi.