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. Through its project “Stop DDT”, Biovision is calling for political action banning the use of DDT and so bring about sustainable improvements in human health and the environment. As part of this project, Biovision has been an active member of the Swiss Malaria Group (SMG) since 2014, raising the public’s understanding of the relevance of sustainable methods of malaria control.
In parallel, Biovision is also involved in the project “Stop Malaria” in Kenya and Ethiopia, where it is fighting the tropical disease malaria by introducing and expanding the use of the environmentally-friendly approach “Integrated Vector Management” (IVM).
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. In addition, the malaria-carrying mosquitos develop a resistance to the poison, rendering DDT ineffective. The aim of the project is to push for a ban on DDT at the political level and at the same time to improve the effectiveness of environmentally-friendly alternatives, so ensuring a breakthrough at the international level.
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.
The Bern Malaria Declaration was signed in 2016. As a member of the Swiss Malaria Group, Biovision participated in an event raising awareness and was also a panel member at the subsequent high-level symposium on the role of Switzerland in the fight against malaria.
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 original idea for a road map came from 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.