Health News Tue, 12 May 2009

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Panel of Doctors lacks logic

In a report on Scientific American on 4th May2009, a panel of doctors led by a University of California epidemiologistcalled for restriction in the use of DDT having regards to it widespread use inAfrica especially after the endorsement in 2006 by the World Health Organization(WHO).

According to scientificamerican.com ‘’ The scientistsreported that DDT ‘may’ have a variety of human health effects, includingreduced fertility, genital birth defects, breast cancer, diabetes and damage todeveloping brains. Its metabolite, DDE, can

block male hormones’’.

‘’Based on recent studies, we conclude that humans areexposed to DDT and DDE, that indoor residual spraying can result in substantialexposure and that DDT may pose a risk for human populations," thescientists wrote in their consensus statement, published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.

"We are concerned about the health of children and adults given thepersistence of DDT and its active metabolites in the environment and in thebody, and we are particularly concerned about the potential effects ofcontinued DDT use on future generations."

In 1947, shortly after the Second World War II, the United Statesdecided to eradicate Malaria from its territory using DDT in an overwhelmingaerial dispensing spree. By 1952, US had declared it 13 states in the southerneastern part which had perennial malaria reported cases as Malaria free.

The success of this exercise led to the WHO adopting the DDTstrategy in a so called Global Malaria Eradication Campaign which howeverexcluded Black African countries with an excuse that, our part of the world was‘’not ready’’. While the United States method was aerial dispensing system,WHO opted for Indoor Residual Spraying system. Though not the best strategyhaving regards to the effectiveness of aerial dispensing system, the programmeis reported to have saved 500 million lives in 8 years that would haveotherwise have been lost due to Malaria. This number largely does not includeblack Africans and this explains why 90% of all Malaria illness now occurs insub-Saharan Africa.

DDT was then praised in superlative terms by the AmericanNational Academy of Science and declared a ‘’miracle pesticide’’.

The success of this programme however did not go down withMalthusians. In 1972, United States declared a ban on the use of DDTtwenty years later after it had declared Malaria Free. The ban was base on itagricultural use which was responsible for depopulation of birds. Environmentalgroups joined hands with Malthusians for an unprecedented war against DDT usetill today even after WHO endorsement in 2006 under the leadership of Dr. ArakaKochi who admitted to WHO Malaria ‘’policy mess’’ and therefore allowed DDT to beused.

Now, the world has a new group of ‘’menticides’’ referringthemselves as Panel of Doctors who want to cause change in priority for donorsto push their cash into other interventions other than IRS for eradication. Thepanel of doctors with all their long paper works were clueless to give alternativeto eradicating Malaria and went ahead to say that DDT should be used as a ‘’lastresort’’.

This is deeply shocking and should send Black Africans onfull scale demonstration against this panel of doctors and their allies. Atwhat point will the world know to use DDT as the last resort? When 100 peopleare dying per second? Currently, WHO taunts that Malaria kills 2 persons eachminute! Is it not enough to tell this Panel of doctors we are in the last resort?

They also had no authentic finding against DDT therebyreferring to their disastrous wishes with a ‘’may’’ phrase.

Thereis no evidence that in the 1960s and 80s when DDT was widely used, it had anydisastrous consequence on people.

Aresearch finding in Uganda in 2007, emphatically indicates low levels of DDT inparts per billion (ppb) in the human blood samples, urine, soil, beans, andfish, even after being exposed to the chemical for a long time. The studyfurther established that “there is also no associated environmental damage orhuman defects of infertility, impotence, neurological abnormalities andcancers.”

Whatis more, this research is African oriented – conducted on African soil, byAfrican researchers and scientist and clothed with excellent reliability andvalidity of results. According to Dr Myers Lugemwa of the Department ofMedicine, National referral Hospital,in Mulago, Uganda – a member of the team thatconducted the research on the effects of DDT in humans and the environment –when the chemical is applied strictly for indoor spraying, it poses very littleenvironmental threat.

After all, if the so call future health problems are to betrue, then America should also not produce food and send to so call malnourishedand starving children in Africa because it is likely to also cause obesitywhich has ill effects in the long run just as they claim DDT has ill effect inthe future on humans.

I am not an advocate for DDT but found the findings andstatement by the so call Panel of Doctors as unreasonable, ill conceived and aploy against humanity. I am equally aware of effective and efficient technologyand insecticides that could be used for a much more highly result orientedaerial dispensing to eradicate Malaria in the continent of Africaif resources going into researches sponsoring programmes like this panel ofdoctors and nets are channelled for an efficient aerial dispensing system andpublic education.

Hayford Siaw

Executive Director

Volunteer Partnerships for West Africa


Source: Ghana Celebrities

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