Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Speaking of Africa, Why is the U.S. Media 2 months Behind on the Malaria Scandal?

(photo: The New York Times)
From the New York Times last week:

The World Bank, after pledging to halve malaria deaths in Africa six years ago, had let its staff working on the disease dwindle to zero.

And the United States Agency for International Development admitted to outraged senators last year that it spent more on high-priced consultants than on life-saving commodities, like mosquito nets that cost $5.75 apiece and last up to five years**.
Back in April I blogged on this from a story in the BBC.

**p.s. there are many well-meaning organizations that are soliciting donations for mosquito nets; some of these nets are pre-treated with insecticides that are not good, especially for pregnant woman and children *and* aquatic organisms. Some names of bad insecticides include Deltamethrin, and of course our good old friend DDT. You have to consider that if a chemical is strong enough to kill, it's not going to be great for humans or the envronment, either. Most pesticides are well known (and this is often cited as a plus) for their non-reactivity, i.e., that they never break down and stay inside us and the earth forever!

I don't see why these nets HAVE to be treated with insecticide, as mosquito nets were around long before insecticide was invented.

Also, sadly, one of the things I learned from An Inconvenient Truth was that a lot of African cities, e.g., Nairobi, were intentionally established at altitudes above "mosquito level" for this exact reason, but as global warming occurs, these cities are no longer naturally free of mosquitos. Maybe instead of $5 for mosquito nets we need to be focusing on cutting down carbon emissions and publicly ostracizing people who drive Hummers!

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2 comments:

Mo said...

But didn't you know...according to the Bush administration, global warming doesn't exist. Sigh.

It seems to me that no matter how many times the lessons are drilled in, many Americans seem to pay no attention to global issues. The US Media, in their drive to please these many Americans, would rather tell us about the latest celeb break-up. I admit, I listen to the stories about the celebs with the best of them, but I also listen to NPR/BBC to hear about the rest of the world. For many, the rest of the world just isn't important until they feel threatened.

Green Fertility Marie said...

I SOOOO agree, Mo. I even feel that the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, instead of focusing on new drugs and vaccines to help the 3rd world should focus on bigger things that would actually help MORE people...like trying to reduce carbon emissions! Malaria is going to be the least of our problems if the jetstream stalls, or something like that.

cheers,
marie