Enemies of humanity 


“Where DDT is used in the developing world, malaria cases and deaths often drop by 80% or more. Where it is not used, people die.” – Steven Lyazi
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Steven Lyazi, Paul Driessens’s friend in Uganda, had another brush with malaria a few weeks ago. He writes about it in his latest article, and offers his thoughts on African versus environmentalist priorities. Malaria drains some $100 billion a year from African economies, he notes, and kills over 400,000 people a year, mostly in Africa.

“And yet,” he says, “global green campaigners endlessly spend money trying to prevent Africans from using fossil fuels, promoting renewable energy and trying to sell us little solar ovens. But this great generosity does nothing to address the horrible realities of people dying now – day after day, year after year. Greens worry constantly about Africans being exposed to insecticides. We worry about dying from malaria.”

“Let’s help change the mindsets that continue to hold Africa back, by imposing harmful policies on countries that are trying to end killer diseases and raise living standards to what Americans and Europeans enjoyed 50 to 100 years ago,” says Driessen.

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Enemies of humanity 

Mosquitoes and uncaring environmental activists perpetuate poverty, disease and death

By Steven Lyazi

After being infected again with malaria last July, I spent almost a month in a Kampala hospital. Paying for my treatment was extremely difficult, as it is for most Ugandan and African families. I was lucky I could scrape the money together. Many families cannot afford proper treatment.

Where and how can they get the money to go back to the hospital again and again, every time a family member gets malaria, when they also need food, clothes and so many other things – or malaria makes them so sick that they can’t work for weeks or even months? Many parents can do nothing except watch their loved ones die in agony, and then give them a simple burial.

Far too many people still die from malaria every year in Africa, the vast majority of them women and children. Too many more die from lung and intestinal diseases, because we don’t have electricity, natural gas, clean water, or decent modern homes, clinics and hospitals.

Malaria also makes many people so weak that they die from other diseases that people in Europe and the United States rarely even hear about, like chronic dysentery. It saps people’s strength for years and leaves them with severe liver and kidney damage. Cerebral malaria causes lifelong learning and memory problems.

All these diseases create enormous barriers to Africa’s economic growth. They drain our national healthcare budgets and deepen our poverty. Malaria control and treatment alone cost Africa over $12 billion annually. Uganda alone spends $11 million a year fighting it. The disease drains an estimated $100 billion every year from the African economy.

Malaria also hits India and other countries really hard. The World Health Organization (WHO) says it drains India’s economy of as much as $2 billion every year. Billions in wages are lost, because people die or are absent from work, have low productivity due to fatigue, and have to spend so much on bed nets, insecticides, bug repellants, medicines, treatments and hospital care.

Terrible roads mean that, even when AIDS and other drugs are shipped to African countries, few people receive them. Many sit in warehouses until their expiration date passes, and then those expired drugs get sold on the black market. People buy them, and die. Other times, they take drugs until they feel better, and then sell the rest of the prescription. Then a more deadly, resistant malaria comes back and makes them even worse.

Greens worry about our exposure to insecticides.
We worry about dying from malaria.

And yet global green campaigners endlessly spend money trying to prevent Africans from using fossil fuels, promoting renewable energy and trying to sell us little solar ovens. But this great generosity does nothing to address the horrible realities of people dying now – day after day, year after year. Greens worry constantly about Africans being exposed to insecticides. We worry about dying from malaria.

We don’t need enemies of humanity. What we need is financial and political support to conquer malaria, lung diseases and intestinal parasites. We need clean water and affordable, reliable electricity in our villages and cities. We need modern hospitals.

We need environmental activists to realize how important fossil fuels and hydroelectric plants are to having decent, healthy living standards, lights, computers, the internet, clean hospitals, clean water, and everything else modern countries have.

We need them to support us Africans in preventing malaria in the first place – which means we need more than bed nets. We need campaigners to recognize that we have the same rights as people in modern, rich, industrialized countries to decent living standards and modern technology.

Malaria viruses are constantly mutating, making available treatments less effective. Many families cannot afford the drugs, and many of the drugs are fake, just packaged to look like the real thing. People spend money on them, they don’t help at all, and people die.

The WHO says over 3 billion people around the world are still at risk of getting malaria. In 2015, there were 212 million cases of malaria and 438,000 people died, the vast majority of them in Africa.

Allow preventive measures that work, like DDT

Many of these illnesses and deaths could be prevented if just a few simple steps were taken right now, especially by allowing and encouraging countries to use preventive measures that work, like DDT.

So many people have access to medical care only on an irregular basis. Others have never learned how to take proper care of themselves or their children. But the most fundamental problem is malaria-carrying mosquitoes that are the source of our biggest scourge. And there is a readily available life-saving solution – DDT and other pesticides to kill mosquitoes and keep them out of our homes.

To me, there is simply no substitute for DDT. It is the most affordable, longest lasting, most effective mosquito repellant in existence. Sprayed in tiny amounts on the walls of traditional homes, just once or twice a year, DDT repels mosquitoes from the entire house, kills any that land on walls, and perplexes or irritates any that are not killed or repelled, so their urge to bite is gone.

Other pesticides that some activists say we can use are not as appropriate, or they are up to six times more expensive than DDT, or they have to be sprayed much more often. Every dollar spent this way is a dollar that’s unavailable for safe drinking water, electricity and other critical needs.

No one has ever died from it

DDT for indoor residual spraying programs is rejected because it is supposedly dangerous to the environment and might be detected in our blood or on agricultural products. We use it carefully, it is less dangerous than other pesticides, and being able to detect it does not mean it is a risk to anyone. No one has ever died from it, and it can help prevent malaria and other diseases that ruin our lives and kill us.

Where DDT is used in the developing world, malaria cases and deaths often drop by 80% or more. Where it is not used, people die. If we can prevent malaria and other insect-carried diseases in the first place, we won’t have so many people sick and out of work. Families won’t have to spend their savings on treatment. Doctors and nurses won’t be overwhelmed, and will have the time and resources to address other health problems. It’s that simple.

But too many politicians and activists have made it impossible to prevent the disease by killing and repelling mosquitoes. They constantly oppose DDT use and insist that developing countries rely on insecticide-treated bed nets, larvae-eating fish and other strategies that are simply inadequate.

Malaria is no longer a killer in western countries – because they used DDT to help eradicate the disease decades ago. That may be a key reason as why many well-off westerners talk about environmental considerations being supreme, and tell Africans and other third world countries not to use pesticides because of supposed health risks and environmental damage.

Malaria has nothing to do with global warming

Malaria also has nothing to do with global warming. It existed for centuries in northern Europe and even in Siberia. The same mosquito species still live there. They just don’t carry malaria anymore, and so cannot transmit it to people. That’s what we want to do in Africa.

Americans would never tolerate being told they could not protect their children – or that they should rely on bed nets or wait more long years for new drug treatments or magic mosquitoes that cannot carry malaria. But Africans are repeatedly told we have to be content with exactly these limited safeguards, while parents and children get sick and die. That is inhumane and imperialistic.

If wealthy nations and NGOs really want to help developing nations, they should support fossil fuel power plants for reliable, affordable electricity. They should support DDT as an important part of the solution to eradicate this serial killer, so that Africans can work, spend less on malaria, have more money for other healthcare and family needs, and develop as much as rich nations have.

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Steven Lyazi is a student and worker in Kampala, Uganda. He served as special assistant to Congress of Racial Equality-Uganda director Cyril Boynes, until Mr. Boynes’ death in January 2015. He plans to attend college and help his country and Africa get the energy and other modern technologies they need.

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17 thoughts on “Enemies of humanity 

  1. Malaria kills over 400,000 people a year. Isn’t Rachel Carson, the person most responsible for DDTs ban, guilt of manslaughter? That is 18 millions deaths since 1972. Mostly in Africa? Sounds like genocide not pesticide. Lift the ban on DDT and save lives.

    • Right — 8 billion people on the planet aren’t enough.
      Lets overload it even further but at the expense of the natural environment on which we all will ultimately depend.
      Typically short sighted prescription.

      • The prescription for solving overpopulation isn’t mass murder, which is what a total ban on DDT use in Africa amounts to. This stance is morally reprehensible.

      • Upping the standard of living of populations tends to permit taxation and development of social infra-structures such as hospitals which help people to become more stable and productive. Currently, most African nations suffer from under-population and in some places settlements are becoming dysfunctional collections of human beings, incapable of providing any of what we western folk regard as essential services.

      • Every person on earth could have a house and a yard and all fit within the state of Texas.
        The Earth is not overpopulated and resources are neither running out or finite.
        The current blooming of mankind is due to a one off doubling in life expectancy during the 20th Century but will soon peak and begin an inorexable decline in the second half of this Century.
        Africa is corrupt, its people practitioners of tribalism, lover’s of the strongman leaders who raid the coffers and spend most of the year in Europe returning to their benighted nations once or twice a year to rubber stamp a few laws.
        Everyone would like to see Africa achieve prosperity but right now beggars can’t be choosers.

        • Whatever Africans do, our, that is, the US, should have policies that are moral, and beyond reproach, that value human life, and that do not exploit or create human misery, and this is often not the case.

      • It is proven that the wealthier a country and their people become, the fewer children they have. So its a win win situation Pieter. Give them better health and wealth and they won’t have as many children. Also, you don’t need much land to produce food, Africa has been reported to be able to supply enough food to feed the world. They just need some basic infrastructures in place to achieve this. But, then we are stopping them from progressing so it won’t happen. However. the Chinese know we are heading for colder weather and they are pouring billions into Africa so they will benefit down the track.

  2. I agree with everything Mr. Lyazi says here. What I’ve never understood is what is standing in the way of African countries using DDT. Has the west curtailed its manufacture? Do western industrial powers discourage its use by withholding foreign aid?
    A few years ago there was a charitable push on to provide mosquito nets for Africans to mitigate against malaria. This burned me every time I heard of it. How paternalistic for the West to discourage a real solution and hand them a net to cower beneath!

  3. Rachel Carson WAS actually justified in her claims of harm
    why?
    because as Steven Lyazi just stated
    CAREFUL use isnt bad
    especially in Malarial and other mozzie borne pest regions
    the issue was in usa back then the utterly stupid mass and OVER use Abuse of DDT.
    the usual profit making bigagri pushed it as if it wwas a safe as running through water to the public
    DDT is good for me! was the slogan.
    sadly the result was banning in places where its really vital
    but then having a nation of many millions that could compete globally if given power to run machinery keep food and meds cool and allow kids to get educations use computers and have decent sanitation etc
    would be a “threat” to the establishment
    cant have that!(sarc in case;-)
    how much did the idiot gates pay out for the supposed better toilet for 3rd word?
    end result may have been very nice/also expensive/ and didnt really help the basic need to keep feces OUT or water supplies and off streets at all at a price and using materials people could GET and afford!
    sealable black plastic garbage bins left in sun to heat to 50C is easy in a hot climate
    thats enough to kill pathogens and enable use as fertiliser in a week.
    efficient solar stills to get clean water for babies,black plastic old glass windows or clear plastic some sticks/bamboo rods etc and a bit of effort to make a pit to sit unclean water in to evaporate/distill
    simply using a roll of black polypipe sitting in sun angled to syphon tank to tank would provide safe, near boiling point HOT water for a few dollars

    money the so called charities spend huge amounts of, achieving nothing FOR the people in need.could buy this type of thing for interim use while proper powerplants were built
    but the IMF wont allow funding
    hypocritical bastards!

    • For anything, there is a point at which use becomes overuse, and overuse becomes abuse. If an ounce is good, ten pounds is not necessarily better, and a thousand tons, is not necessarily just about heaven.

  4. I sympathize with you and hope you recover from your latest bout with Malaria without any long term effects. Both my parents, who were in the Army during WWII, had severe cases of it. My mother contracted cerebral malaria and almost died from it. It caused her problems all of her life and toward the end of her life she had severe mental problems caused by it. I have seem to have inherited medical issues because of them having malaria such as unexplained periods of sweating and weakness not related to physical exertion or current illness. When I had these issues as child the family doctor attributed them to the malaria both my parents had.

    All of the claims made in Rachel Carson’s book have been disproven however still today people still believe what she said is true and needlessly fear DDT. It is one of the safest and most effective pesticides ever made. Millions have died in third world countries just to satisfy irrational phobias of environmentalist.

  5. These complaints were made at the time D D T was banned. So what? The west has a different agenda.

    Look to your own agenda. Use D D T and let the west be damned.

  6. To control malaria paracite disease in humans you have to first understand its life cycle in mosquitos and humans. You will never eradicate it totally but the opportunities to minimise it are many. Even pouring a tea-spoon of kerosene onto a stagnant pool of water can suffocate the larval stage in your garden.
    The liver stage gives way to the red bood cell stage which is when we feel ill. The red cell stage can be minimised by pulsing the blood with electricity. 27 volts at 4Hz works okay. Some researchers say pulsed DC with a square wave is better. The theory in the US Patent suggests interference with surface protein structures of the blood-borne stage of the paracite.
    I’ve builts units for <$100 which could be used indefinitely if coupled with a 5W solar panel for recharging the 9V batteries. Others have trialed radio frequency units which don't even have to be attached to the skin by wet electrodes. The patient simply sits inside a sort of "climbing frame" antenna for an hour each day.
    Part of our apparent immunity comes from optimal health resulting from good diet and living conditions.

  7. I seem to remember, bird shells being paper thin, not letting the hatchling survive in the shell. Rains in the summer nesting areas, that were drounding the weakened hatchlings, and the only thing that was different in the area, was a weekly spraying of ddt. They found a cycle of over use of ddt, interfered with the creation of the shell. So far none of that was disproven. Or has been. It was the over use. Instead of limiting uses, they banned it. But, there is more then one way to skin the cat. To stop malaria, you stop mosquitos, fish, eat, bugs. Import fish? Or mineral oils and water, stops the oxigination of water, coats the airways of water bugs, and doesn’t affect humans, unless made so. There are more ways now go find them.

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