Wide Area Malaria Vector Suppression

Richard Howe writes: Only one aircraft equipped with a pair of high pressure aerosol generators would be capable of treating over one million acres per night, using only 1/10 of the recommended amount of insecticide

By Richard Howe

 Application Dynamics 

School of hard knocks, aviation trades, pilot and aircraft mechanic

Punta Gorda, Florida USA

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this opinion piece are solely those of the author and are not associated with Policies for Equitable Access to Health - PEAH. PEAH refuses any responsibility or liability for the content, style or form of this post, which remain solely the responsibility of the author

Wide Area Malaria Vector Suppression 


Africa is the only continent that has not defeated malaria, and a host of vector-borne pathogens. Why not?

The endemic nature of this problem is due to ineffective intervention methods, that only exacerbate attempts to eliminate vector transmission by inducing resistance to insecticides, creating super bugs in the process. The solution, wide area vector suppression for the purpose of breaking the transmission cycle long enough to eliminate the ability of humans to infect the mosquitoes. Here in Florida where I live, up until about 1950 there was transmission of malaria, smallpox and dengue. The mosquitoes that transmitted these diseases are still here, however modern mosquito control methods removed pathogens from the human population who in turn, used to infected the mosquitoes.

The solution, quit squandering limited resources on ineffective interventions and dedicate them for elimination of the mosquito. How do you accomplish this? Using an aircraft equipped with a pair of high pressure aerosol generators. This method is capable of treating over one million acres per night using only one aircraft, dispensing insecticide. The system I would use has a demonstrated ability to accomplish this task using only 1/10 of the recommended amount of insecticide. The reason this works at dramatically reduced rates has to do with the fact it is a relatively new, and patented technology, that I have 20 million acres of experience with.

UNICEF reports 300,000 children die of malaria each year in Nigeria, in addition to a 11% maternal mortality. Harvard Health Policy Review, fall of 2001 Vol 2, reports 300 million cases of malaria annually in Nigeria with 2 to 3 million deaths. Humans are the smartest animals on God’s green Earth. Over a century ago a couple of bicycle mechanics invented the airplane. The first flight was only 123 feet, now you can get on an airliner and fly with 500 other people half way around the world on one tank of gas. 48 years ago my future wife and I were at Cape Canaveral and witnessed the launch of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on mankind’s first trip to the moon. And we are not capable of eliminating vector transmission of one of the smallest insects in the world. This oversight is not a question of ability, but will, in my opinion. It is imperative, we work smart and not hard. From my perspective, what the NGO community is doing is like watching an episode of the 1920’s film version of the Keystone Cops. To keep doing the same thing and expecting different results is, as Albert Einstein said, one definition of insanity. What is trending now are vaccines to accomplish elimination of vector diseases. Scientists have been working on this since World War 2 and it has not happened yet. These viruses and parasites are just too adaptable. In my opinion it is a fool’s errand. The Gates Foundation is spending hundreds of millions of dollars on this project that could be better utilized to simply break the transmission cycle. The cost of wide area vector suppression will only be a few pennies an acre, using the enhanced technology and application methods that I have developed over the years.

I would like to recommend a pilot program to prove concept. This should be done in the most endemic area of Nigeria, perhaps in the Southwestern part of the Country. Operationally it is imperative to find an insecticide that has not developed resistance. This presents a challenge because over the years every class of insecticide used in Africa has become resistant. I suspect we may have to formulate  a new compound for this effort, we are not going to win the war shooting blank ammunition. I have some ideas on how this can be accomplished and am confident it is possible.

The question, is the NGO community up to the challenge?