Kill Malarial Mosquitoes NOW! Coalition Announces Archbishop Desmond Tutu Joins Call for DDT to End Malaria
Stopping Malaria’s ’Global Reign of Terror’ New Human Rights Cause.
November 3, 2003 -- Nobel Laureate Desmond M. Tutu has joined an international campaign calling on the Bush administration and Congress to deploy DDT as a primary weapon in world malaria control policy, the Kill Malarial Mosquitoes NOW! coalition announced today.
Archbishop Emeritus Tutu joins hundreds of scientists, physicians, clergy, and opinion leaders who have signed a “Declaration of the Informed and Concerned,” vowing to make malaria control and eradication a paramount health and human rights issue. Awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984 for his courageous battle against racial apartheid in his native South Africa, Tutu was the first black Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town diocese.
Tutu said Thursday, “Malaria is a devastating disease that holds back development in Africa. Many African countries desperately need cost-effective insecticides, such as DDT, to battle the deadly mosquitoes that transmit the disease. It is a human tragedy that children die largely because donors fail to support appropriate and effective solutions to this preventable disease.”
To end malaria’s “global reign of terror,” the Kill Malarial Mosquitoes NOW! Declaration calls for 2/3 of world malaria control monies to be spent on DDT, or any more cost-effective insecticide, plus artemisia-based combination therapies (ACTs). The Declaration emphasizes that the UN Stockholm Convention endorses DDT for malaria control under programs that apply small amounts of the insecticide to the interior walls of homes -- though not for crop dusting or other outdoor applications. The convention was signed by the Bush administration, but is unratified by the Senate.
Yet, almost “none of the $200 million that U.S. taxpayers contribute to world malaria control each year is actually spent to kill or repel the deadly mosquitoes that inject malaria parasites into the bloodstreams of these victims,” the Kill Malarial Mosquitoes NOW! Declaration observes, adding: “Amazingly, some in government even oppose using malaria control monies to (purchase drugs that) kill the parasites that malarial mosquitoes transmit from person to person!”
On Tuesday evening, a House-Senate appropriations conference committee headed by Senators Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Representatives Jim Kolbe (R-AZ) and Nita Lowey (D-NY) inched toward the standard set forth in the Declaration Tutu endorsed. The committee adopted language telling the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) that, of the $105 million in 2006 malaria monies it receives, “considerable support should be provided for the purchase of commodities and equipment,” including effective anti-malarial drugs and insecticides for indoor residual spraying.
KMMN coalition secretary Paul Driessen said, “Congress has taken a big step forward by directing foreign aid bureaucrats to start killing malarial mosquitoes and parasites, and we applaud the House-Senate conference leaders. Now Archbishop Tutu and all other signatories to the Kill Malarial Mosquitoes NOW! Declaration are calling on President Bush and USAID to embrace the Declaration’s 2/3 standard. In 2005, USAID spent almost zero on insecticides and medicines. For 2006, the 2/3 standard dictates that USAID spend no less than $69 million on DDT and ACT medicines. Anything short of that number is evidence of business-as-usual at USAID. That’s just plain morally unacceptable, because an African child dies every 30 seconds from malaria.”
“Without life, other human rights mean nothing,” says Niger Innis, national spokesman for the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), one of the nation’s oldest and most respected civil rights organizations. “And yet, USAID, the European Union, and others have effectively denied African nations access to DDT.”
Having seen the ravages of malaria first-hand many times, CORE national chairman Roy Innis has also endorsed the Declaration. He is joined by John Meredith, son of civil rights leader James Meredith; National Black Chamber of Commerce CEO Harry Alford; and former South Carolina Governor David Beasley, known for his controversial decision to remove the Confederate flag from that state’s capitol. Other signers include Greenpeace co-founder Patrick Moore and former Surgeon General of the Navy Admiral Harold Koenig, MD.
South Africa slashed malaria rates by 96 percent in just three years, using a combination of DDT and ACT medicines. Zambia reduced malaria by 75 percent in two years -- through private means, not the government -- also by using DDT. This powerful but safe insecticide keeps over 90 percent of mosquitoes from even entering a home and kills most that land on walls, thereby protecting everyone in the home for at least six months with a single spraying, Driessen said.
“No other insecticide, at any price, is this effective or lasts this long,” notes Roger Bate, a public health expert with the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, DC.
By contrast, insecticide-treated bed nets “could” reduce childhood malaria deaths “by as much as one-fifth,” according to the World Bank. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation on Sunday pledged over a quarter billion dollars to develop a vaccine against the disease, which could be available as early as 2011, according to reports. The Kill Malarial Mosquitoes NOW! Declaration, however, calls for immediate action to kill malarial mosquitoes and parasites by established and proven means. Malaria annually infects 500 million people and kills more than a million each year, mostly African children and pregnant women.
“Public policies that prolong this unnecessary tragedy, by preventing access to insecticides and modern drugs, are an unconscionable human rights violation,” says Niger Innis of CORE. “Policies must change right now, before more children and parents die.”
For more information and to view the Declaration, please visit http://www.FightingMalaria.org
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