Biovision projects in East Africa have demonstrated that inexpensive, environmentally friendly methods, which are supported by the local community, are an effective way to combat malaria (see "Stop Malaria" project).
Until the 1970s, the insecticide DDT was used to fight malaria. Concerns about the toxicity of DDT, its persistence in the environment and DDT concentrations in the food chain resulted in restrictions and global bans. In recent years, however, a number of developing countries have once again started to use the persistent insecticide (DDT) to combat malaria. This is putting at risk the success of long-term environmentally friendly methods of malaria control because vectors are developing resistance. At the same time it is exposing both humans and the environment to unnecessary risks.
The Stockholm Convention came into force in 2004. This international agreement banned the use of "persistent organic pollutants ("POPs" for short) including DDT, except in specific cases: DDT may only be used in enclosed spaces and if there is no effective alternative. In reality, however, it is impossible to prevent DDT reaching the environment. In 2011, Biovision uncovered a case in Uganda where the use of DDT had made it impossible for thousands of organic farmers to sell their produce as its contamination meant that it was no longer classed as organic.
The aim of the project is to press politicians to introduce a ban on DDT and at the same time encourage the use of environmentally friendly alternatives and in so doing accelerate a breakthrough for such methods.
To promote human and environmental health in a sustainable way through political measures that encourage and support effective and eco-friendly methods of malaria control. To this end, it promotes Integrated Vector Management (IVM) at the international level and also argues for a ban on the use of DDT.
DDT is a long-lasting poison that damages the health of those who inhabit the sprayed rooms. Secondly, improper use of DDT can seriously harm agricultural produce in areas close to affected communities. Finally, the malaria-carrying mosquitos develop a resistance to the poison rendering its use pointless.
Those living in malaria-affected areas worldwide and their immediate environment will be freed from the risks of DDT. In conjunction with projects running in parallel for the sustainable control of malaria, it will be possible to reduce significantly the consequences of this often deadly disease.
• Strengthen the international political framework so as to reduce reliance on DDT in the fight against global malaria and ultimately to eliminate its use.
• Promote and spread safe, effective and eco-friendly ways to combat malaria (IVM) at both the international and national (Kenya) level.
• Biovision is a member of the Swiss Malaria Group (SMG): Through a range of activities it is seeking to raise awareness of the relevance of sustainable methods of malaria control amongst leading figures in Switzerland and the general public.
In May 2015, the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Compounds agreed a Roadmap on encouraging eco-friendly methods of fighting the insects that transmit malaria and other deadly diseases.
The decision by the Stockholm Convention to adopt the Roadmap originated in an idea in a discussion paper agreed by government officials, representatives from international organisations, civil society and the private sector at a conference organised by the Biovision Foundation in March 2013. This decision is a further milestone on the road to the global elimination of the environmental pollutant DDT. At the same time, it is recognition of the malaria control strategy supported by Biovision and so creates the conditions required to extend the successful and proven IVM approach.
As part of the Annual Conference of the Pan African Mosquito Control Association (PAMCA) in Nairobi in 2014, Biovision organised a symposium on “Alternatives to DDT in malaria control”. The symposium demonstrated a wide range of effective, eco-friendly methods (not using DDT) for malaria control as well the progress and success of the IVM approach.