Saturday, February 01, 2003


From tomorrow's LA Times, a story on the use of DDT to combat malaria-carrying mosquitos in S. Africa. Malaria is a huge problem in Zambia, too.

At home we took Daraprim as a prophylaxis for malaria once a week on Sunday nights. At school we were given Paludrine every night at supper. The teacher at the head of each table counted out the tablets into the metal cap of the bottle and passed it around the table for each of us to take one. When we were sick, sometimes we were given chloroquine just in case we had malaria.

Since I've lived in Zambia, chloroquine-resistant malaria has become more of a problem. As the article states, in Africa, including Zambia, "malaria is the leading cause of death for children under 5." According to the article, Zambia, too, uses DDT to fight malaria. The danger of using such extreme measures is noted by Dr. Avertino Barreto, deputy director of Mozambique's Health Ministry: "Malaria is a terrible problem, but you can save one life today and kill 10 lives in the future."

[Edit: 6:45 pm. To anyone who might have read the earlier version of this post, I conflated tsetse fly control methods I remembered seeing as a child with mosquito control. "One of the methods used to (try to) control mosquitos tsetse flies was to cut down swathes of trees along roads, presumably destroying the mosquitos' tsetse flies' habitat. However, it was discovered that mosquitos tsetse flies didn't live in the tops of trees; rather, they preferred the small bushes that quickly grew up around the stumps. There were also mosquito tsetse fly check points along the roads. In the middle of nowhere, suddenly there would be a rickety wooden barrier across the road. A mosquito tsetse fly control officer would walk around the car banging underneath it with a mosquito net and then spray the car with insecticide from a dented pump can."]

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