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September 14, 2018 - 20:28 -- malcolm doherty

i have lived here in Tanzania for almost 18 years now. i was in Kenya prior to that working with pyrethrum as an effective repellent and killer.since coming to Tanzania i have tried and tested so many formulas on the market as well as created some of my own. at one stage i was working with the head of the Malaria campaign here Alex Mwita based at the world health organisation offices in Dar es Salaam. when i came here early 2000 i found breeding grounds were the biggest issue as everywhere there was standing water as well as rivers with steady corners allowing breeding. i have to admit i was very disappointing with the work done regarding malaria here,as even the net distribution was done without proper education on use.
the local populas are unaware that even a tiny 3mm hole in a net is actually a neon sign entrance for mosquitoes as the heat from inside departs through the hole at higher rate than the remaining area .
hanging nets here was done with string and nails that resulted in damage to brand new nets and basically rendering them useless from the start. tied high up in a knot throughout the day simply gave the mosquitoes a quiet resting place that when dropped on a night trapped the mosquitoes inside.
fumigation and sprays work but are only short term deterrents as humidity and heat with the sheer numbers of mosquitoes result in a rapid return. now 2018 and infrastructure has come a long way but the concrete drainage ditches have provided new breeding grounds.
the big difference is that mosquitoes used to bite at dawn and dusk but now it is 24/7 resulting in no safe time zone.
i sit in an air conditioned office and every day the mosquitoes are here, even the air conditioner creates water outside that if not drained away properly breed the pest.
we are trying with billions o dollars to deal with this as the biggest killer on the planet, but i have experienced that simple education and follow through s not a priority. i see many ex pats here who have plush watered gardens and fumigate on a regular basis but they try having a barbecue and the mosquitoes come in force. poor education and understanding on how mosquitoes breed and moreover how they live and feed. i have been wanting to start a global education method that starts is junior schools and continues through the school years but interest is low. we should be creating a youth who leaves school wit awareness and therefore changes the very world we live in regarding this killer, after all we do educate very young regarding snakes and sharks yet they kill so few in comparison.

why not mail me on your views.


Submitted by Anton Alexander on

Education made the difference between malaria control and malaria elimination (which first began in 1922)and I have now written about this in the American Entomologist and Oxford University Press at .
Sadly, the following from 1924 is still relevant today in many areas:
" ... we have to acknowledge …… that in reality we are not in a position to suggest any single plan for dealing with malaria which would certainly be permanently effective in actual practice.”. This was reported by the League of Nations Malaria Commission in 1924!! Palestine inconspiculously became the first place in the world where successful national malaria elimination began in 1922, and when the League of Nations inspected the anti-malaria works underway in Palestine in 1925, the League of Nations reported that year “…the work done in Palestine destroyed pessimism, raised hopes…” and “the men who carried it out can be regarded as benefactors not only to the Palestinian population but to the world as a whole.”
Malcolm Doherty is right. Education should be as important as the anti-malaria works. 100 years ago, Palestine was drenched in malaria. The British Army had collapsed from the disease in Palestine, and the place had been referred to as one of the most malarious places in the world. It was either very thinly populated or uninhabitable in many areas. But it was the education of the whole population (albeit a very small one) - of both Arab and Jew - that was the key to the malaria elimination that was eventually achieved. But this seems to be overlooked by many endeavouring to defeat malaria.