DDT can not save Northern Uganda. Although DDT helped to reduce Malaria in some places, wiping out Malaria in other places was not possible. Resistance soon emerged among the female anopheles mosquito populations. How sure are we that mosquitoes in Nothern Uganda will not develop resistance? In many areas, early victories against Malaria were partially or completely reversed, due to resistance, and rates of Malaria transmission even increased. This has also been evident in the piloted districts of Apac and Oyam where the results are worrying.
People in Nothern Uganda should note that, Spraying programs (especially using DDT) were stopped due to concerns over safety and environmental effects, as well as problems in administrative, managerial and financial implementation. Attention was thus changed to controlling and treating the disease. DDT was therefore later banned in the 1970’s because of the harm it caused on both human health and the environment. Now, where has its harmfulness gone so that we again use it to save Northern Uganda?
DDT played a small role in the final elimination of Malaria in Europe and North America. This is because Malaria had already been eliminated from those areas by improved public health measures and generally increasing health and living standards. So long as the health care system in Nothern Uganda is still faulty with ramshackled health structures, DDT can not become a solution.
Northerners should be educated that exposure to DDT is dangerous especially to developing infants and children. Scientific evidence shows that low levels of DDT exposure in the womb can reduce babies' birth weight and size, cause developmental delays in children, interfere with a mother's ability to breast feed, increase risks of miscarriage/abortion, and cause reproductive problems such as hysposdias, testicular dysgenesis (TDS) and cryptochirdism syndrome. Exposure to DDT causes external genitalia birth defects such as congenital malformation of the nose and mouse, early precocious puberty, reduction in IQ and infant deaths. The International Agency for Research on Cancer also lists DDT as a possible human carcinogen.
DDT exposure leads to birth of impaired calves, decline in some species of birds. This is because DDT can disrupt calcium absorption, thereby impairing eggshell quality. This means that birds such as hens can lay eggs but those eggs can not hatch because of the thin layer. DDT is also highly toxic to aquatic life, including crayfish, daphnids, sea shrimp and many species of fish. It is also very toxic to amphibian species, especially in the larval stage. The immediate effects of DDT exposure include: Vomiting, diarrhea, numbness, tingling, sensation usually of lips, tongue and face, malaise, headache, sore throat, fatigue and weakness, apprehension, staggering, confusion, convulsions and coma.
Nothern Uganda is very much known for its organic farming. This is the only source of livelihood, what will happen when this dies out due to DDT. The European Union (EU), America, Japan and Australia to mention just a few, have vowed to destroy any produce arriving into their countries that contains DDT. The organic exports which are currently at risk from DDT contamination fetched 745 million USD, last year.
This was 56 % of the country’s revenue earned from the export sector much of what was from Nothern Uganda. DDT can not save Nothern Uganda but will instead worsen the situation.
By Twebaze Paul
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