USAID policies perpetuate disease and malnutrition.
A decade ago, USAID finally put DDT back in its anti-malaria arsenal, so that the walls and doorways of mud-and-thatch, cinderblock and other primitive homes could be sprayed with the most powerful and long-lasting mosquito repellant ever invented. One DDT spraying every six months keeps the vast majority of these flying killers out, irritates those which do enter so that they don’t bite, and kills any that land. DDT thus reduces malaria infections by 80% or more, making it far easier for inadequate and overtaxed doctors and healthcare systems to treat those who still get this vicious disease.
Sadly, the policy change came only after the global Kill Malarial Mosquitoes Now! campaign – led by three Nobel Prize laureates and hundreds of prominent civil rights champions and people of faith – persuaded Congress to compel the agency to do so.
Today Deep State USAID bureaucrats seem determined to repeat this black mark in agency history, with millions more needless Third World deaths. This time, they’re not just blaming “manmade global warming” for spreading tropical diseases – an Al Gore myth that ignored malaria’s centuries-long prevalence in Britain, northern and central Europe, Virginia, Maryland, Wisconsin … and even Siberia.
Now USAID is claiming that deforestation and other land use changes also help spread infectious diseases. The agency has thus implemented an Infectious Disease Emergence and Economics of Altered Landscapes (IDEEAL) program. How it concocted these claims no one knows. But USAID asserts:
“Over 60 percent of emerging infectious diseases over the past six decades – from SARS to Ebola and HIV – have originated in animals, with nearly half linked to land use change, agricultural intensification or changes in food production. Land alterations accelerate the pace and diversity of human and animal contact, enabling pathogens to spill over from animal populations, a first spark in the chain of events that ignite global pandemics. Deforestation and forest degradation account for between 14 to 17 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, equivalent to the entire global transportation sector. A key strategy in reducing the dual threats from diseases of pandemic potential and climate change is a robust evidence base that accurately captures the value of ecosystems, including their critical role in regulating disease.”
The IDEEAL program specifically calls for USAID to use its enormous power to influence and further control land use policies in developing counties. In the agency’s own inimitable words:
“Emerging infectious disease of pandemic potential and unchecked climate change threatens social and economic stability and represents significant impediments to sustainable development. Capturing the economic impact of disease emergence presents an opportunity to promote sustainable land use policies to mitigate these threats, leveraging USAID’s partnerships and expertise developing solutions to pressing development challenges.”
To paraphrase Winston Churchill’s description of Russia, this policy justification is an absurdity, wrapped in a non sequitur inside a deception. It is such absolute rubbish, one scarcely knows where to begin.
That agriculture, pathogens, pandemics, deforestation, forest “degradation,” greenhouse gases, social stability, sustainability and Washington, DC-imposed land use policies are somehow inextricably linked is absurd on its face. Bald assertions by USAID do nothing to persuade otherwise.
Humans in poor countries have always been, and remain, in much closer contact with animals than those living in modern developed countries – where the vast majority of people live in urban and suburban areas, and modern mechanized agriculture feeds their national populations and exports food to the rest of the world. Diseases have arisen from human-to-animal contact for ages, but are spread more rapidly today because people are far more mobile and can rapidly travel across multiple borders before any infectious disease manifests itself.
Modern agriculture would greatly reduce human contact with wild and domesticated animals alike. And yet USAID climate and sustainability alarmists (and their allies) are intent on perpetuating ultra-organic subsistence farming in poor countries, while simultaneously restricting farmers’ land use options.