Uganda health experts are asking the developed world to allow them to strategically deploy DDT-based products to fight malaria.
Here are some stats on malaria:
- Over 10 million Ugandans are infected each year
- Up to 100,000 Ugandans die from malaria each year
Using an inferior product (more expensive, lasts shorter duration and costs more), Icon, Uganda was able to reduce a 100,000 local population carrying the disease (a key factor in long-term impact on malaria) from 30% to 3%! This investment more than paid for itself in lower healthcare costs and human productivity let alone human suffering.
The issue is that DDT has been banned by western governments since 1972 and international aid requires that receiving countries also ban DDT. There is no plan to use DDT for agriculture (which is why it was banned), but simply for household use to help kill the mosquitoes carrying the malaria disease. While the research now is very clear, G8 environmentalist still are against any uses of DDT.
See full article in WSJ, Give us DDT.
UPDATE 8-20-2007: New York Times article, A New Home for DDT, refers to new research that DDT has the added benefit that mosquitoes which are immune to DDT are still repelled by it making it an extremely effective indoor malaria (and yellow fever and dengue fever) prevention technology.