Malaria and DDT: Myths and Facts
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Around the world, about 2,400 million people, in about 100 countries and territories, are still at risk of contracting Malaria. Between 300 and 500 million of them get the disease each year and between 1.1 and 2.7 million die from it. In Uganda, malaria is the first cause of morbidity and mortality. It accounts for 29%-50% of all out-patients consultations, 30% of inpatients admissions and 9%-14% of inpatient deaths. Up to 23% of deaths in children under five years of age are due to malaria. The Uganda Minister of Health recently announced the intention of using DDT for Indoor Residual Spraying to decrease malaria morbidity and mortality. This spurred a heated debate. The available scientific evidence, accumulated over the years, strongly suggests that DDT, when properly used, is harmless to human beings. The attempt to control malaria, without DDT, is futile. This paper advocates an evidence based approach, free from preconceived ideas. Politicians should help to inform and sensitise public opinion, rather than spread false information harmful for public health.
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