HEALTH minister Jim Muhwezi has told the Parliamentary Committee on Social Services that government will soon start indoor spraying of DDT.
There is no evidence that DDT has injured humans. In fact the use of DDT helped eradicate mosquito borne diseases like malaria in countries like America and Italy.
However outdoor spraying of DDT was halted in Europe and America in the 1960s after it was discovered that it can accumulate in the food chain. This means that if DDT is used to spray insects, it can then enter animals like frogs that eat insects, and then accumulate in animals like birds that eat frogs.
Animals like raptor birds at the top of the food chain then suffered and died. The use of DDT was halted because of this tendency towards environmental accumulation.
Uganda is proposing that DDT is only used indoors, and not outdoors. It will be sprayed onto the inside walls of houses and is expected to dramatically reduce the number of mosquitoes in residential accommodation. Consequently the incidence of malaria in Uganda should fall dramatically.
Malaria is the biggest killer in Africa and the biggest drawback to economic productivity in Africa. It also disproportionately affects the poor people of Africa who cannot afford effective medicine. Drastic measures are needed to tackle malaria.
Other countries such as South Africa and Sri Lanka have successfully used DDT to reduce malaria through indoor spraying.
It is time for Uganda to also undertake indoor spraying with DDT. The one proviso should be that government puts in place strict safeguards to ensure that no outdoor spraying of DDT takes place in Uganda. If this happened and was detected by the European Union, exports of agricultural and horticultural products could be banned.