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Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Bill & Melinda Gates and DDT?

Although Windows is probably the greatest invention of the 20th Century, Bill Gates and his wife are not leveraging American resources to the maximum extent practicable in fighting malaria in Africa. They should be fast tracking the use of state-of-the-art, Environmental Protection Agency approved insecticides and should not rule out funding the extensive use of DDT in all African countries experiencing deaths from malaria.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, with nearly $29 billion in assets, awarded $258 million in grants over five years for research to prevent and treat the disease. Malaria kills an estimated 1.2 million people a year, the large majority of them African children. Although the Gates acknowledge that malaria kills 2,000 African children every day, their research money is directed towards improved insecticides to combat the mosquitoes that carry it, and $108 million of the grant will fund research into producing the first malaria vaccine to treat people who contract it. Significant new research is not needed for an effective insecticide and DDT works very well in killing mosquitoes. An ounce of prevention is worth a ton of cure.

The Gates Foundation should be funding the use of an EPA certified perticide or DDT to eliminate mosquitoes carrying the malaria parasite in Africa right NOW. Just as we used DDT in America to eliminate malaria-leaden mosquitos, we should do the same thing in Africa. Then roll back the use to protect wildlife. Children and adults in America do not die from malaria thanks to DDT. People in Africa should also enjoy freedom from this preventable affliction. Bill and Melinda Gates should meet with EPA to examine the feasibility of utilizing EPA-approved insecticides and other resources available at the agency. EPA's Office of Pesticide Programs and International Activities Offices could be very helpful assisting the Gates in accelerating the successful elimination of malaria deaths in African countries.

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