EU Threats Against Uganda Based on Greed, Not Science
IPN Press release
The US Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will hear testimony tomorrow from Richard Tren and Roger Bate, both of Africa Fighting Malaria, a public policy organisation, on how EU, USAID, WHO and UN have prevented many poor African countries from using DDT, a cheap and effective method of controlling malaria.
Instead, these organisations have required poor African countries to use expensive, inefficient and ineffective technologies to prevent malaria. The EU, USAID, WHO and UN have based many of their objections against DDT on faulty science, though there is evidence that other motives may have existed. This year the European Union has made veiled threats about allowing Uganda agricultural products into the EU, if Uganda starts to use to DDT to control malaria.
Britain’s leading malaria specialist, Professor Chris Curtis of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine discovered that the EU’s threats were not based on science rather, ‘the ban is supported by a multi-national insecticide manufacturer. Such a ban would presumably be in the interests of the manufacturer who could expect increased sales of its insecticides. However, it would not be in the interests of Uganda or its donors who wish to protect as many people as possible from malaria with the limited funding available for vector control.’
One of the chief opponents of using DDT, Gerhard Hesse of Bayer Crop Science, a division of Bayer AG, the giant German agrochemical and pharmaceutical company, stated in an e-mail exchange with a malaria researcher that Bayer fully supported the EU ban against DDT because ‘DDT use is for us a commercial threat….it is mainly a public image threat.’ Bayer Crop Sciences reported sales of over US$7bn in 2004 and Bayer’s Dr Hesse sits on the board of the World Health Organization's Roll Back Malaria (RBM) coalition as do other commercial contractors to USAID.
DDT is no longer produced by western companies, and the only sources are the governments of India and China. It is sold at low cost and only for disease control. DDT still can save lives today, but instead of helping African nations, European interests are preventing its deployment.
'This is blatant protectionism and agro-chemical commercial interests disguised as a concern for European health’ concludes Tren who speaks on Tuesday, 4th October 2005, to International Policy Network's ‘Arbitrary and Capricious’ discussion which will be held at 6:30 at 2 Lord North Street, Westminster.