Even environmentalists had to admit that DDT was necessary. "I wasn't very happy about it, but we are what you'd call pragmatic conservationists," says Gerhard Verdoorn, chairman of South Africa's Endangered Wildlife Trust, which had earlier lobbied the South African government to drop the pesticide and now helps train the 350 or so DDT sprayers who are employed each year. "We can't just look after animals and not care if people die."
That's the kind of attitude that will make a difference in the battle against malaria. The know-how to control the disease already exists. What is not so clear is whether there is the necessary commitment financial and political to make it happen.