Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Friday, May 25, 2007

More on Rachel Carson, DDT and Malaria

From a victim.

The 2007 World Health Assembly is wrapping up and people are commemorating the birthday of Silent Spring author Rachel Carson. Meanwhile, millions of Africans are commemorating still more deaths from a disease that the chemical she vilified could help control.

I just got out of the hospital, after another nasty case of malaria. I've had it dozens of times. I lost my son, two sisters and three nephews to it. Fifty out of 500 children in our local school for orphans died from malaria in 2005.

Virtually every Ugandan family has buried babies, children, mothers and fathers because of this disease, which kills 100,000 of us every year. Even today, 50 years after it was eradicated in the United States, malaria is the biggest killer of African children, sending 3,000 to their graves every day.

In between convulsions and fever, I thought about the progress we're making – and about those who would stop that progress. I ask myself, why do some people care more about minor, hypothetical risks to people or animals than about human life?

1 comment:

Bruce Heimbigner said...

In my visits to remote Thailand and Myanmar, I’ve seen first had the severe impact of Malaria. Even the pastor in Myanmar got Malaria. This happened after our second visit and we’d purchased what we thought were enough nets but he got more children and gave them his. In our next visit (this winter) we’ll be sure they have PLENTY of bed nets. It is one thing to tell them they need to buy these, it is entirely another to go there, go to the local store and buy the supplies they need. One year we delivered enough cash to buy rice for an entire year (a lot of rice for not much money.) The banks are so worthless in Myanmar that he deposited the cash at the rice store and could pick up rice for the year. The other problem in Myanmar is he cannot let the government know he has money from foreigners, the military will simply come by and demand a bribe – I’ve seen it happen – they actually did while we were there. Since then we’ve learned a lot about how to operate in this repressive dictatorial military rĂ©gime.

You can read more about the orphanages at http://pullmanfoursquaremissions.blogspot.com/search/label/Orphanages ALSO, if you want to support our efforts you can ride in the first annual tour de scab http://tourdescab.blogspot.com/ 100% of the $80 entry fee will go directly to the orphanages. Or you can even donate directly.

By the way DDT is still used in at least sub-Saharan Africa but in very restrictive methods. They spread it around the walls of homes for mosquito control. It is apparently also used in rare case in US forests.