Friday, July 10, 2009

Uganda Journal Entry #2

Thursday Night - June 25

Malaria is still the leading disease-killer in Uganda. In a country of 25 million people, 70,000 - 110,000 children die in Uganda each year from malaria. That's about 400 people per day. Dad and I posed a question to Godfrey (the president and founder of Arise Africa International, the evangelical ministry we partner with in Jinja, Uganda). The government of South Africa claims they have now practically eliminated malaria by spraying with DDT and other insecticides. So why can't the Ugandan government do the same thing here?

His response:
There was a recent push to begin spraying, and it started in the north. But then it began to ruffle feathers and cause no small stir among several higher-up politicians and officials. Since Uganda is a major source of organic vegetables, coffee, tea, etc. to the U.K., the U.S. and other G8 nations, the president of Uganda issued the spraying to stop. In other words, if spraying were to continue, their organic produce would cease to be organic and exportation would stop. Apparently, organic produce is of more value than human life. The mean to eliminate malaria exists, yet the big-wigs risk losing their organic crops to sell to the West. Thus, the Ugandan people continue to die off by the thousands.

It saddens me. It sickens me. I also can't help but think that there's more money to be made by pharmaceutical companies creating medicines to cope with the symptoms of malaria than if were to be eliminated altogether. At the end of the day, it's all political and the almighty dollar rules out.