Uganda: President Museveni's State of the Union Address

Yoweri Museveni | 08 Jun 2007
Monitor (Kampala)
Excerpt

Honourable Members, in my last address, I did not only reiterate the government's continued focus on Primary Health Care and the fight against malaria, I made specific reference to the protracted debate that had been going on over the use of DDT to spray the mosquitoes. Let me therefore, start with the issue of DDT use to spray mosquitoes.

As it may be recalled, the World Health Organisation gave clearance specifically for Indoor Residual Spraying using DDT. According to Annex B, part II of the Stockholm Convention, it is a requirement that a country intending to use DDT for Indoor Residual Spraying (IRS) must inform the WHO and the Stockholm Convention Secretariat about the intention to use DDT.

Although there is no need for approval, the country concerned must submit quarterly reports on the progress of Indoor Residual Spraying (IRS) using DDT. Ministry of Health has already written to inform the World Health Organisation and the Stockholm Convention about the intention of Uganda to use DDT for Indoor Residual Spraying (IRS).

Following the Environmental Impact Assessment [EIA] review and the subsequent public hearing/debate on Indoor Residual Spraying DDT, the National Environmental Management Authority (Nema) approved the use of DDT for Indoor Residual Spraying.

Furthermore, it was recommended to use an integrated approach to malaria control involving other preventive interventions such as the use of pyrethroids, Insecticide Treated Nets (ITNs), biological control methods and environmental sanitation practices.

Ministry of Health has put in place a National Monitoring Task Force with representatives from Nema, Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, Ministry of Tourism, Trade and Industry, Ministry of Water and Environment, Ministry of Health, the Private Sector and NGOs. This Task Force comprised of Professional and Multi-disciplinary Monitoring personnel will oversee the implementation and monitor the environmental concerns of DDT use.

Having gone through a rigorous systematic approach on the use of DDT for Indoor Residual Spraying as elaborated above, it is not only disturbing but quite insulting to hear some individuals and at times groups claiming to be the champions of protection of the environment going around misleading the public that no scientific studies and preparations have been made about the use of DDT. Since they also ridicule the World Health Organisation which is the International Standard Setter in health matters, one only wonders where they derive their authority!

Given the menace of malaria to our people and to counter the irresponsible and negative campaign by some individuals; Ministry of Health has for the last two years been running awareness campaigns in both the electronic and print media. Several mobilisation and sensitisation meetings have been carried out targeting the political leadership, the business community, the religious leaders and the communities.

President Bush Malaria Initiative (PMI) has pledged support to using DDT. It has conducted an Independent Pesticide Assessment in Kabale and Apac as a requirement by the US Government before procuring any pesticide for a country. A report is being finalised and it will be the basis for the procurement of DDT for Uganda.
In light of all the preparations so far made, it is hoped that Indoor Residual Spraying (IRS) using DDT may commence in the dry period of November 2007 to March 2008.

The districts to be started with are Kabale, Kanungu, Apac, Kitgum, Pader, Gulu and Amuru. Thereafter, more districts will be brought on board in a cascading manner depending on the availability of funds. May I, therefore, appeal to all leaders at the various levels and the public in general to join the fight against malaria and be counted.

Given the high figures of deaths from malaria or malaria-related ailments, we cannot afford to oppose the battle or stand aloof and watch malaria menacingly afflicting the communities and hence, putting enormous pressure on the resources for curative treatment.

The full speech is available at: http://www.monitor.co.ug/news/news06086.php