and Fred Ouma
IT is a matter of time before an anti-mosquito squad begins walking from house to house, spraying the interior with dichlorodipheny trichloroethane (DDT), health minister Jim Muhwezi said yesterday.
Addressing an Africa regional DDT workshop in Kampala, Muhwezi (right) said the Cabinet had approved the use of DDT for indoor spraying in the fight against malaria.
He said he was not sure when the spraying would start but promised to inform the people later.
He was also non-committal on whether individuals would be allowed to decide whether their rooms get sprayed or not.
Muhwezi said the Government planned to initially use DDT alongside alternative chemicals and then compare the effectiveness and costs.
He said in the likely event that DDT is more effective and cheaper, it would then be used fully.
The National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) asked the Ministry of Health to assess the impact of the drug on the environment and to consult with the people before NEMA could approve the project.
Muhwezi said prolonged debate on whether to use DDT would only cost more lives. â€œHow many people must die of malaria while these debates continue? If DDT can save lives, why not use it as we wait for the alternatives?â€ he said.
Muhwezi dismissed fears that DDT might be harmful. He said they would use it according to the recommended procedures.
He said he used DDT in the 1960s while still a student and he was still healthy with no sign that he was in danger.
Muhwezi asked Uganda to copy Mauritius, which was about to be declared malaria-free because they have been using DDT.
He said South Africa had also reduced the burden of malaria by 70% because of using DDT.
Lubaga South MP Ken Lukyamuzi vowed to continue opposing the Governmentâ€™s plan to use DDT.
The Kalangala Women MP Ruth Kavuma, said cemented graves resulting from deaths caused by malaria could destroy the environment more than DDT indoor spraying.
â€œIn the developed world they bury many people in one grave but if I propose that in Kalangala people will say Iâ€™m mad,â€ she said.
DDT To Be Sprayed Indoors Soon