CIDA: More bite than bark

Despite remarkable past success in Togo, where the Canadian Red Cross, with funding from CIDA, distributed 900,000 bed nets in the malaria torn nation in a single week, CIDA’s bed net distribution funding for the Red Cross is scheduled to end next month. Instead, CIDA will help fund a UNICEF program which sells bed netting to Ethiopians for $1 per net. According to Amir Attaran of the University of Ottawa the UNICEF program pales in comparison to the historic work of the Canadian Red Cross.

Malaria kills about 900,000 people a year in Africa, mostly children under the age of five, yet is considered controllable by using various vector controls and medical treatments. In South Africa, bed netting programs combined with effective, responsible spraying of DDT resulted in a nearly 90% drop in malaria cases in one year.

Minister Verner, please do not abandon such a successful program. Refund the Canadian Red Cross’ bed netting program and allow the responsible use of DDT in future CIDA funded programs.