Monday, January 12, 2009

Target Malaria

Malaria kills more than 1 million people each year. Most are children in Africa and Southeast Asia. African nations have set a goal of halving mortality caused by malaria on that continent by the year 2010, and the government of the Peoples Republic of China has taken steps to assist with managing malaria across its borders with Southeast Asian countries. These collective efforts face some significant health, environmental and political impediments. One of the focal issues is the use of the insecticide DDT as an indoor residual spray to control mosquitoes that vector the malarial disease-causing protozoan. Some suggest an increased use of the indoor DDT sprays, even in light of this chemical being banned by many governments because of its reportedly negative environmental and health impacts. This debate threatens to derail the progress of discussions and efforts to abate and prevent malaria.