No fear for ICON

A week ago, the government started spraying inside people’s homes in an effort to fight against malaria. Hardly a week later, rumours started doing the rounds that the chemical spray that is being used causes impotence, prompting the state minister in charge of HIV/Aids and other infectious diseases, Dr Innocent Nyaruhirira, to come out and allay people’s fears. He urged the public not to panic, as ICON has no side effects because it is a pyrethrum product which has been tested over and over again and has been found to be harmless to human beings.

It is ironic that people should suspect government for wanting to bring them to harm. The spraying programme was arrived at after careful consideration by many stakeholders, the purpose of which is not to cause its citizens harm, but to cause them have a more comfortable life than they are having right now because of the effects of malaria both on people’s health and also on the economy. The purveyors of such negative rumours should also know that there is no government that would want to decimate its population or bring a programme that would render its people unproductive in the broadest sense.

ICON is the insecticide of choice now in many countries that are fighting against malaria. Sri Lanka and Madagascar, countries that have used ICON in the fight, have reported high degrees of success.

It is to be noted that there can never be total absence of controversy in the world regarding the spraying of insecticides, as environmentalists jockey for total mastery over all that appears to threaten life. But it is to be remembered that so many arguments have been given for and against spraying mosquitoes, and it would be repetitive to continue them here in this column. Some things, however, can be pointed out. One of the major anti-malaria programmes that has had a positive effect on the sufferers in malaria-infested areas is the provision of insecticide-impregnated mosquito nets. ICON is one of the most popular insecticides used to impregnate these nets, so that it would be self-defeating to suggest to ban them as well.

ICON will rid us of mosquitoes up to six months until the next phase of spraying. Let us accept it without any more qualms.


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