Saturday, May 06, 2006

Good news for folks in developing nations on the DDT/malaria front

DDT: A Weapon of Mass Survival
The U.S. Government has finally begun to reverse policy on the insecticide DDT. Let's hope that this policy shift represents the beginning of the end of what can only be called a crime against humanity: the decades-old withholding of the world's most effective anti-malarial weapon from billions of adults and children at risk of dying from the disease.

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) told the Washington Times this week (May 3) that it endorses and will fund the indoor spraying of DDT in sub-Saharan Africa. Malaria kills more than one million Africans annually, mostly children under five and pregnant women.


USAID reportedly will use about 20 percent of its $99 billion budget to fund indoor spraying with DDT, according to the Times. "Between 1 million and 1.5 million people will be protected," a USAID official told the Times.

It's about freaking time! How many millions of people have died needlessly? Let's get the ball rolling on this!
The policy change is timely given a recent commentary published in the prestigious medical journal The Lancet (April 25) in which a number of researchers accuse the World Bank of deception and medical malpractice in the struggle against malaria.

The researchers charge that the World Bank reneged on its promise to spend $300 million to $500 million for malaria control in Africa; concealed the actual amount of its expenditures; reduced its staff of malaria experts from seven to zero shortly after promising to do more to fight the disease; published false epidemiological studies to exaggerate the performance of its projects; and funded clinically obsolete treatments, against the World Health Organization’s advice, for malaria in India.

The Lords of Poverty were cheating and lying? Who woulda thunk it!
There never was any scientific evidence that DDT posed a risk to humans or wildlife. ....

DDT was nonethless banned in the U.S. when then-EPA administrator William Ruckleshaus reversed without explanation the decision of the judge who actually heard all the DDT testimony – Ruckleshaus heard none of it and never read any of the transcript. As it was later revealed, Ruckleshaus was a member of the Audubon Society and raised money for the Environmental Defense Fund – the two activist groups that led the charge for the DDT ban.

The fix was in for DDT, as environmental activists subsequently exported the ban to the rest of the world – with horrific consequences, including tens of millions killed and billions made ill by malaria over time.

So a few troublemakers get a wild hair up their asses, and millions -- mostly children and pregnant mothers -- die a horrible, needless death as a result. This is a crime against humanity and I wish that the perpetrators could be held accountable.

For more information, see Three Billion and Counting.


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