Kent R. Hill, assistant administrator, Bureau of Global Health, USAID, corrects yet another ignorant claim that USAID won’t fund DDT spraying:
Paul Driessen’s opinion article titled “USAID Could Stop This Epidemic” (Nov. 2) misrepresents the U.S. Agency for International Development’s support for indoor residual spraying to control malaria, as well as the United States government’s position on the use of DDT internationally. USAID strongly supports spraying as a preventative measure for malaria and will support the use of DDT when it is scientifically sound and warranted.
In the past, USAID has provided critically needed technical support to implement the use of DDT, including training, logistic and planning support in countries where DDT has proved to be the best insecticide for spraying and when its use is permitted in that country. Also absent from Mr. Driessen’s letter is the essential fact that DDT is only one of 12 World Health Organization-approved insecticides for spraying in malaria control.
USAID will begin implementing the president’s malaria initiative in coming weeks, with a large-scale spraying campaign in southern Angola as the first activity to be launched in the field. President Bush’s initiative will include substantial spraying activities in Angola, Tanzania and Uganda, as well as in future programs, as the president himself made clear in his announcement. We at USAID fully expect our funded spraying programs to include DDT where most effective, and where it is permitted by the government.
Mr. Driessen seems to believe there is an anti-DDT agenda at play. In fact, the debate around DDT has seemingly moved far from the technical and operational issues, which should be the issues for consideration, rather than political ones.
Given the human toll this disease, the United States public and Congress should be aware of the true nature of the efforts made by the U.S. foreign-aid agency to defeat this terrible disease.