The World Bank is the largest funder of Eritrea’s anti-malaria program.
The Eritrea Daily
the good results:
But today Eritrea, one of the poorest countries in the world, stands out as a success story in controlling malaria.
The statistics are compelling. The number of people dying from malaria has dropped by between 55 to 65 percent since 1999. Mortality of children under five years of age dropped by 53 percent, while there was a 64 percent drop in the death rate for older children and adults.
“In 1991, our death toll among pregnant women from malaria was very high” Eritrea’s Health Minister, Saleh Meky says.
Today, it is non-existent.”
And what did they do to get such dramatic reductions? Why they significantly increased the use of insecticide treated nets:
Eritrea has used a range of proven strategies for malaria control. An important part of this is to reduce human contact with mosquitoes. Insecticide treated bed nets have been vital to the program with the use of the nets significantly increased in high risk areas.
Walker says there are now more than 850,000 nets are being used in Eritrea with the numbers increasing.
“It’s become a major very cost effective way of dealing with the problem,” he says.
stopped using cut back the use of DDT [Correction: They continued to use some DDT. See here]:
“If you go back five years, Eritrea used indoor spraying very extensively. But that’s been cut back a lot with this project,” he says.
“We’ve also introduced other kinds of insecticides which are more environmentally friendly than those they were using. Spraying though still continues, according to the extent of the malaria problem and the behavior of the mosquito in a particular area.”
Almost all of the efforts to prevent malaria cases have focused on providing people with insecticide-treated nets. People, particularly pregnant women and young children–those most at risk–are encouraged to sleep under these nets in order to protect themselves from the Anopheles mosquito. The problem isn’t that these nets don’t work; it is simply that as a sole strategy they haven’t been shown to have any significant large-scale impact on malaria transmission.
Those countries that are making progress against the disease have ramped up their indoor insecticide-spraying programs. These programs entail spraying tiny amounts of insecticide, such as DDT, on the inside walls of houses to repel or kill (or both) the malaria-carrying mosquitoes. This method of control is safe and highly effective: Malaria rates have plummeted in the very poor northern parts of Zambia where this approach is currently employed. Yet RBM and the World Bank, always politically correct, have eschewed this method of control. The World Bank even went as far as to require that its of funding malaria control in Eritrea be conditional on non-use of DDT.
The World Bank did not switch away from DDT in Eritrea because of
“political correctness”. They did so because the alternatives were
more effective. Where DDT spraying is the most cost-effective method,
the World Bank funds it. For example, they fund DDT spraying in India:
In accordance with guidelines from the World Health Organization and also in accordance with the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants, what the Bank does is to support the program of the government of India with technical sanction from WHO.
Specifically, it means the government of India is using a range of tools including indoor residual spraying. The government of India actually does use DDT because that is what the government of India wants to do.
Bate and Tren’s article is deliberately misleading. One blogger who
was misled by it is Rafe Champion who falsely
claimed that the World Bank
would not fund DDT because of “political correctness”. He then
compounded his error by refusing to correct his falsehood despite repeated requests.