Uganda: WHO Supports Spraying DDT

Cyprian Musoke | 03 Feb 2008
New Vision

The World Health Organisation (WHO) is not opposed to Uganda using DDT to control malaria, the agency's regional director in Africa, Dr. Luis Gomes Sambo, has said.

Addressing journalists at the health ministry headquarters on Friday, Sambo said control of malaria was important, because the disease is a major public health problem in Africa.

"The WHO position on indoor-residual spraying is that countries have the right to choose the products to use. WHO has recommendations on use of products, DDT being one of them. "Provided the government follows recommendations on its use, we have no objection on the use of DDT. It depends on the possibility of countries getting alternative products.

"DDT has been used in the past and it is currently being used in other African countries with success. But it is necessary to make assessment and judgements before its use. "WHO is available to offer technical advice on the use of the different products," he said.

The Government's attempts to use the chemical last year were met with stiff opposition from environmentalists, who argued that it has adverse effects on the environment.

He also said after discussions with health ministry officials, the Vice-President and Prime Minister, he discovered that Uganda has a sound national health policy, which it is implementing successfully.

"We cannot achieve all development goals overnight. We have to keep improving the way we deliver health care to the nation, particularly the poor and the marginalised."

He observed that Uganda had skilled health staff, including researchers and that the Government was making significant effort to provide resources.

"But we still have a long way to go in achieving millennium development goals. The Government is in the right path, and all parties are engaged," Sambo said.

He emphasised the need to balance resources for disease control and strengthening capacity at local levels.