Malaria is a disease with strong links to the environment. Here are a few thoughts on malaria in observance of Earth Day.
- Washing Long Lasting Insecticide-treated Nets infrequently will not only preserve their effectiveness longer but might save water
- Integrating agriculture – e.g. coffee production – into existing forest ecology saves trees, whose clearing would have opened more mosquito breeding sites
- Appropriate and safe use of insecticides during indoor residual spraying can prevent environmental contamination
People alter the environment in many ways that make mosquito breeding possible and in the process create other environmental problems. We may thereby make the environment less economically viable – as people lose income they are less able to afford malaria treatment and preventive interventions or buy or build housing that protects them from disease. We need to look beyond medicines and nets and think about the broader social, economic and environmental factors that contribute to the spread or control of malaria.
Please feel free to add your own ideas and help celebrate Earth Day.