More welcome publicity today for malaria, a disease which according to the WHO still kills more than a million people every year.
In the UK the BBC’s Today Programme featured Professor Chris Whitty, a trustee of the aid agency Merlin.
Professor Whitty made the point that conflicts can exacerbate effects of malaria. He explained that war typically causes a breakdown in health services and makes spraying (‘indoor residual spraying', IRS) far more difficult.
Asked whether global warming caused malaria and threatened to bring it back to Europe, Professor Whitty responded ‘I don’t think global warming would cause it … it’s not really because of global warming’.
This echoes the arguments provided by expert on insect-borne diseases Paul Reiter regarding the fallacy of global warming-induced malaria.
The BBC’s website also includes an article featuring contributors from Merlin. They make the same points about conflict causing a breakdown in health services, a decline in spraying and often resulting in large numbers of people being exposed to malaria near breeding sites. They also note the futility of bed-nets in such circumstances:
‘But nets don't work so well if, like many displaced people, you have no bed, and no home’
Note: If you want to listen, the interview was broadcast around 6:55am.