Impact Malaria

mosquito Malaria is a disease spread by mosquitoes that kills 2.7 million people in developing southern nations each year. This is equal to the number of deaths cause by AIDS. But, unlike AIDS, malaria can be inexpensively wiped out. We have a safe, powerful and available weapon to fight malaria — but we're not using it.

Fast Facts about Malaria

  • Malaria is a parasitic disease that causes infection, anemia, low birthweight, and death.
  • Between 1-3 million people die from malaria each year.
  • More than 1 billion people live in areas directly affected by malaria.
  • Sub-Saharan Africa experiences over 90 per cent of the global burden of malaria.
  • In sub-Saharan Africa, someone dies from malaria every 30 seconds. 75% of those deaths are children under the age of 5.
  • Survivors of cerebral malaria may be left with neurological effects including weakness in the limbs, speech disorders, behavioral disorders, blindness, hearing impairment, cerebral palsy and epilepsy.
  • The US plans to contribute over $2 billion to Africa’s fight against malaria over the next 5 years.

Vernon L. Smith, Nobel Laureate (2002), Professor of Economics and Law, George Mason University:

“Malaria appears to be a disease that may have escaped control because of an overreaction to early environmental concerns about the widespread use of DDT for insecticide spray. Although its primary use was in agriculture, where acceptable substitutes were available, its effectiveness in Malaria control was very negatively impacted by the overreaction that banned it where close effective substitutes were available. I think that it is fair to say that science collided with politics and a bad press, and the failure to fully appreciate the tradeoff between small, tolerable environmental costs and potentially large loss of life produced by an unbalanced policy.”

Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu:

“Many African countries desperately need cost-effective insecticides, such as DDT, to battle the deadly mosquitoes that transmit the disease. It is a human tragedy that children die largely because donors fail to support appropriate and effective solutions to this preventable disease.”

The Success Story of KwaZulu-Natal

A comprehensive change in anti-malarial policy in the South African province of KwaZulu-Natal in the year 2000 included the use of DDT in insecticide residual spraying (IRS). After the addition of DDT to the insectide spraying, as well as a change in front-line drug therapy, the facilities which introduced the changes, consisting of 1 hospital and 9 clinics, treated 21,874 fewer cases of malaria between 2000 and 2002.

Anne Mills and Sam Shillcutt of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine said the interventions, including DDT, were “hugely successful,” and Jacques van der Gaag, a professor of development economics at the University of Amsterdam, called the program shift in KwaZulu-Natal “highly successful.”

Vernon L. Smith, a Nobel laureate and professor of economics and law at George Mason University has said, “The great success of KuaZulu Natel resulting from the use of insecticide spray (40 per cent DDT, 60 per cent delta methrin) and combination drug therapies shows that major reductions in malaria cases can be achieved.”

In 2004, a group of economists and policy experts ranked a series of solutions to global problems in order to find which issues posed the best opportunities for significant progress. Overall, the Copenhagen Consensus expert panel ranked the control of malaria in their top category of “very good projects.”

Source: Global Crises, Global Solutions, ed. Bjørn Lomborg (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2004).

Recommended Reading

“Green Death at the World Bank”
By Roger Bate,

“The Spring is Silent on DDT”
By Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr., Ludwig Von Mises Institute

“Business Joins African Effort to Cut Malaria”
By Sharon laFraniere, New York Times

“Push for New Tactics as War on Malaria Falters”
By Celia Dugger, New York Times

“In Defense of DDT”
By Roger Bate, National Review Online

DDT: Use It To Stop Deaths From Malaria In African Countries
African American Environmentalist Association

Malaria: North Should Buzz Off and Let South Use Chemicals
Press Release: Malaria Foundation International

"God and Man in the Environmental Debate"
By Jay W. Richards, Acton News and Commentary


“Africa feels EU's bite”
by Richard Tren and Marian L. Tupy, Washington Times

“South Africa’s War against Malaria: Lessons for the Developing World”
by Richard Tren and Roger Bate, Cato Institute

“DDT Is Only Real Weapon to Combat Malaria”
by Steven Milloy,