Mr Javier Solana
Council of the European Union
Rue de la Loi, 175
BELGIUM 6 April 2006
Dear Mr Solana,
EU position on Indoor Residual Spraying with DDT for Malaria control in Uganda
You may be aware of the colossal global burden caused by malaria in both human and economic costs. Yet the disease is both entirely preventable and curable. One
way to control the disease is to spray tiny amounts of insecticide on
the inside walls of houses - known as Indoor Residual Spraying (IRS). The
insecticide either kills or repels the mosquitoes and has been shown to
be an extremely effective way of protecting man from the Anopheles mosquito (the malaria mosquito).
There are several insecticides that can and should be used in IRS. One
of them is dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane or DDT. DDT is an essential
public health insecticide which led to the eradication of malaria from Europe
shortly after the end of the Second World War. In recent years, growing
evidence and an improved understanding of the role that it plays in malaria control has led to significant policy changes in malaria control.
The World Health Organization lists DDT as a recommended public health insecticide. The
Stockholm Convention gives DDT an exemption for use in public health.
The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria authorizes the use of DDT
and funds its use. Recently the US Agency for
International Development (USAID) recognized the need to purchase DDT
as part of the new President's Malaria Initiative[i].
The EU is not proactively supporting malaria
control as compared with the priority given to HIV and AIDS. We are not
aware of any EU-supported development agency that is currently buying
or supporting the use of DDT. Willfully ignoring
an essential public health medical intervention is medical malpractice
- in essence this is what EU development support for malaria control policies amount to.
However matters are made worse by remarks made by the EU Chargé d'Affaires in Uganda, Mr Guy Rijken. The
Ugandan Ministry of Health has stated on more than one occasion that it
wishes to introduce DDT as one of the insecticides in its IRS program.
Media reports in February 2005 quoted Mr Rijken as saying "...we are
concerned about the impact large scale DDT use would have on Uganda's
exports of food products to the EU if a decision were made." He went on to state "we urge Government not to use DDT."[ii] More
recently Tom Vens, the head of Economic, Trade and Social sectors at
the EU delegation to Uganda claimed that Uganda would be "taking a
risk" if they went ahead with DDT use[iii].
is no conceivable scientific basis to the charges made by Mr Rijken and
Mr Jens. The threats are arbitrary as there are approximately 10
countries in Africa currently using DDT and yet none have been singled
out as Uganda has. This EU position has created confusion, misinformation and has hampered Uganda's malaria control program, costing countless lives.
29 September 2005 the Financial Times reported that Gerhard Hesse with
Bayer Crop Science supported the EU threats of economic sanctions[iv]. Bayer Crop Sciences produces alternative insecticides to DDT and in an email exchange with malaria scientists, Mr Hesse noted that DDT is a commercial threat.
seems the EU is using the threat of economic sanctions to halt the use
of DDT by other donors or sovereign governments. This interference in
public health programs is unacceptable. Additionally people are sick
and dying because European businesses like Bayer Crop Sciences use the
EU's position to further their own commercial interests.
of Mr Rijken's or Mr Jens's comments nor the media reports surrounding
those by Mr Hesse has been accompanied by any official statement or
clarification by the EU. We therefore request a clear statement on the EU's position on the use of DDT in malaria control and its position regarding agricultural exports from any country that uses DDT in malaria control. The confusion and misinformation following the EU's statements in Uganda has cost lives and damaged Uganda's malaria control program and this must halt immediately. We would appreciate a response before 25 April, which marks Africa Malaria Day.
Richard Tren & Roger Bate
Africa Fighting Malaria
- AS AT 15 JUNE 2006, AFRICA FIGHTING MALARIA HAS NOT RECEIVED A REPLY
TO THIS LETTER OR EVEN AN ACKNOWLEDGEMENT THAT THE LETTER HAS BEEN
Hon. Minister Jim Muhwezi, Minister of Health, Uganda
Hon. Minister Sam K. Kutesa, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Uganda
Adv. B. Gawanas, Africa Union Commissioner for Economic Affairs
Hon. Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang, Minister of Health, Republic of South Africa
Rt. Hon. Gordon Brown MP, Chancellor of the Exchequer, United Kingdom
Senator Tom Coburn (R, OK) United States Senate
Dr Arata Kochi, Director, Global Malaria Program, World Health Organisation
Dr Kent Hill, Acting Assistant Administrator, Bureau for Global Health, USAID
Sigurd Illing, EU Delegation to Uganda
Linda Hales, EU Desk Office for Uganda
[iv] Alan Beattie "Commercial motive hinted at in restrictions on DDT" Financial Times, 29 September 2005. https://registration.ft.com/registration/barrier?referer=&location=http%3A//news.ft.com/cms/s/0566ec34-3085-11da-ba9f-00000e2511c8.html
[iii] Daniel Kalinaki & Barbara Among "Uganda to use DDT despite EU concerns" The East African, 3 April 2005