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DDT Ban May be Lifted

by The East African Standard

Nairobi, Kenya- The Government might reconsider lifting the ban of DDT in the control of malaria.

The Director of Medical Services, Dr James Nyikal, said yesterday that
DDT could be "the only solution to the rising cases of malaria".

Three months ago, the Chief Public Health Officer, Mr Alfred Lang'at,
banned the drug, saying it was harmful to the environment.

But yesterday, Dr Nyikal said the advantages of the drug outweighed its
adverse effects.

The Government needed to borrow from the past success in efforts to
control malaria by using viable methods, he added.

Three years ago, South Africa reintroduced DDT in its malaria campaign,
reducing infection rates by 75 per cent in over two years. Uganda's
Ministry of Health is also considering reintroducing DDT.

Nyikal said malaria remains a serious public health problem in Kenya
accounting for between 30 and 50 per cent of the out-patient

"This translates into some 8 million out-patient treatments in public
health facilities and 20 per cent of all admissions every year," he

The DMS was speaking at a Nairobi hotel during the launching of The
World Health Report 2003, presented by the World Health Organisation.

The report was launched simultaneously across the world. Malaria causes
an estimated 1 million child deaths per year, of which 90 per cent are
children under 5 years of age, which is almost 11 per cent off all the
deaths in that age group.

The report says about 90 per cent of all HIV/Aids and malaria deaths in
children in developing countries occur in Sub-Saharan Africa, where 23
per cent of the world's births and 42 per cent of child deaths occur.

However, the report says, some progress has been made in the areas of
diarrhoea and measles.

"Mortality from diarrhoeal diseases has fallen from 2.5 million deaths
in 1990 to about 1.6 million deaths in 2002," the report says.

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