Cheat-Seeking Missles

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Another UN Scandal: "Green Death"

According to the UN's World Health Organization (WHO), about half a billion people became ill with malaria in 2003, and one million people die from the disease every year.

WHO's response to this tragedy merits a WHAT?

Putting political pressure from Global Greenies above science and medicine, WHO has moved away from the one effective treatment for malaria: Indoor Residential Spraying (IRS) programs, in which residences are sprayed with DDT. These IRS programs are more environmentally sensitive than the old methods of spraying wetland areas, but DDT, as much as anything, is responsible for the environmental movement, and for activists raised on Rachel Carson's Silent Spring, banning this chemical has become more important than saving African lives.

If you thought Newsweek's story leading to deaths in Afghanistan was a nightmare, the implications of Green meddling in malaria is much worse. First, just like Newsweek's Isikoff, WHO is motivated by political will and is not bothering to check facts. According to Africans Fighting Malaria:
During the 1960s and 1970s, political opposition, mostly in advanced and malaria-free countries, began to rise to the use of insecticides (particularly DDT) in agriculture and in disease control. Although malaria experts such as us widely acknowledge DDT as vitally important in saving lives, political organizations have applied significant pressure on countries to reduce the use of DDT. The WHO has not been immune to such pressure. Indeed its practices and positions have strengthened this political, life threatening agenda. [emphasis added]
As eliminating all uses of DDT has beome more important to the UN than saving lives, WHO stopped endorsing IRS programs and instead provides people in high-risk zones with insecticide-treated mosquito nets. The Greens bureaucrats must have missed math. People spend maybe eight hours a day sleeping under these nets, but they spend 16 hours out and about, getting stung by malaria carrying mosquitos. The result?
From the late 1970s, through the 1980s and 1990s, malaria control strategies evolved primarily through political processes, not by consultation and deliberation with malaria control experts. As a result, malaria has re-emerged and is now a global public health disaster.
Scientists Sign Protest Letter

Africa Fighting Malaria has posted an open letter to WHO on its Web site which you can sign. It provides powerful arguments for reinstituting DDT-based malaria erradication programs. In Swaizland, for example, only 3,000 cases of malaria were confirmed in the 22 years between 1981 and 2003, and infection rates run in the 1% to 4% range, depending on the parasite involved. In neighboring, UN-politically-correct Mozambique, the infection rates range between 37% and 90% and malaria patients constitute about 60% of the hospitalized population. The nets just aren't as effective as the chemicals.

The letter also calls for WHO and its sister UN bureaucracy, the UN Environment Program, to get off the dime and get to work on their commitment to deliver promised research and development of effective chemical alternatives to DDT. But that would take money, something the UN does not like to spend, and result in chemicals, something their Green supporters do not like to spread.

Dogmatic environmentalism is a rich country's game, and a poor country's bane.

Thanks to Greenie Watch for providing background on this.