May 8, 2006

DDT ban lifted to fight malaria

In its effort to reduce the number people contracting malaria in Tanzanian the government said it planned to lift its ban on the use of the pesticide dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane as DDT. "The insecticide is effective in fighting the killer disease," David Mwakyusa, the county's minister for health and social welfare, said after returning form an African Union meeting on HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria in Abuja, the Nigerian capital. Though the chemical has been effective in killing the mosquitoes that spread malaria; the lice that carries typhus; and other insect-borne human diseases since the 1949s; many countries started banning its use in the 1960 because of possible side effects to humans. However, Mwakyusa said other African countries, including South Africa, are now using the chemical again.
One third of all out-patients at hospitals and health clinics in Tanzania are sick with malaria. Worldwide, the disease kills around 100,000 people each year, including 70,000 children under five years old. Mwakyusa said that besides using DDT, the government would undertake other efforts to prevent people from getting bitten by the mosquitoes that transmit malaria, such as encouraging them to sleep under bed nets. (Standard, Nairobi)

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