The role of drugs in control of malaria
In the early 1960s, President Kwame Nkrumah, the then doyen of Pan African politics, suggested that it would be appropriate to erect a monument in honour of mosquito which had frustrated European colonization of the West Coast of Africa. The inference was that the mosquito-borne malaria parasite was killing the Europeans but had minimal effect on the indigenous people. The Europeans, some of them missionary doctors, had access to antimalarial drugs. In contrast, the Africans had no access to such drugs as there were no health facilities or infrastructure to enable them move freely. Up to 1940, the only antimalarial in use was quinine, either in pure form or as Cinchona bark preparations. Chloroquine was introduced later after the World War II. Extensive control measures targeting mosquito using dichlorodiphenyl-trichloroethane (DDT) aerial spray led to elimination of malaria in Southern European countries such as Italy and Spain. In the 1950s and 1960s, malaria was under control and even total eradication was considered possible.