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Friday 25th May 2018

WHO approves DDT use

15th September 2006

01092006_Mosquito1.jpgAfter phasing out the widespread use of indoor spraying with DDT and other insecticides to control malaria nearly thirty years ago, the World Health Organization (WHO) has announced that this intervention will once again play a major role in its efforts to fight the disease.

The WHO is recommending the use of indoor residual spraying (IRS) not only in epidemic areas but also in areas with constant and high malaria transmission, including throughout Africa.

Dr Anarfi Asamoa-Baah, WHO Assistant Director-General for HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria, said that “The scientific and programmatic evidence clearly supports this reassessment�, adding that "DDT presents no health risk when used properly.�

WHO actively promoted indoor residual spraying for malaria control until the early 1980s when increased health and environmental concerns surrounding DDT caused the WHO to stop promoting its use, focusing instead on other means of prevention. The WHO now says that extensive research and testing has since demonstrated that well-managed indoor residual spraying programmes using DDT pose no harm to wildlife or to humans.

A further two strategies are promoted by the WHO in the control of malaria; the widespread use of insecticide-treated mosquito nets, with the recent development of “long-lasting insecticidal nets� (LLINs) dramatically improving their usefulness.

For those who do ultimately become sick with malaria, more effective medicines are increasingly becoming available. In January the WHO banned the use of malaria monotherapy to help prevent future resistance to antimalarial medicines, recommending the use of Artemisinin Combination Therapies (ACTs).

Poor people are disproportionately affected by malaria, with almost 60 percent of malaria cases occurring among the poorest 20 percent of the world’s population. More than 500 million people suffer from acute malaria each year, resulting in more than 1 million deaths. An estimated 3,000 children and infants die from malaria every day and 10,000 pregnant women die from malaria in Africa every year.

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