Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Uganda - DDT spraying set for February 5

From Patrick Opio, 28 Jan 2008 in the New Vision newspaper, Kampala.

The Government is to begin indoor residual spraying of the anti-mosquito chemical, DDT, on February 5, the officer in-charge of the process has revealed. Gilbert Ocaya said the countrywide exercise would start from the high malaria endemic districts of Apac, Lira, Kitgum, Amuru, Gulu, Pader, Mbale and Pallisa.

He added this would be done in accordance with the World Health Organisation (WHO) and Stockholm Convention guidelines. Ocaya, who did not disclose the cost of the exercise, last week told participants at a workshop for trainers at Scout Hall in Apac that the Ministry of Health had secured funds to buy the chemical considered the most economical and effective. "Unless constrained by late delivery of the logistics, we shall start as scheduled," he affirmed, "Malaria continues to be life-threatening in Uganda, with Apac being the area most infested with mosquitoes in the world."

Michael Okia, a senior entomologist with the Malaria Control Programme in the health ministry, said indoor residual spraying was one of the effective strategies the Government has adopted to control malaria, now killing an estimated 320 Ugandans daily, mainly children and expectant mothers. "We have already seen impressive results of spraying in Kabale and Kanungu districts where the malaria prevalence has reduced from 30% to less than 4% and 45% to 4.7% respectively," Okia said.

However, some people, including environmentalists and farmers, have opposed the use of DDT, saying it was harmful. But Ocaya allayed the fears. He said DDT has been endorsed by the WHO and it would not have any negative impact on the environment as little amounts of a special type would be sprayed on walls inside houses where the lethal anopheles mosquitoes tend to rest.

The Malaria Control Programme manager, Dr. John Rwakimari, affirmed that by the end of 2010, all areas considered malaria-prone would have been sprayed.

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