Smart businessmen

On September 3, 2008, in Africa, global health, malaria, by Karen Grepin

I was recently made aware of the following study through Bill Brieger's blog "Malaria Matters". In this study, researchers visited communities along the shores of Lake Victoria in Kenya and found the fishermen there to be using mosquito bednets to dry fish. In fact, nearly half of the surface areas they had to dry fish were bednets, both long lasting insecticide treated versions and otherwise. Cleverly, the researchers decided to go around the the households in the same communities to see if the bednets were also present in the homes and were being used, which apparently they were. What was the most surprising, however, is that the bednets being used by the fishermen were more likely to be reported to have been given free of charge by non-governmental agencies than purchased than those in use in the homes. Bill argues that this might be a symptom of the way in which the nets were delivered – without strong community involvement – which I agree was probably part of the story. But part of the story might also be that the "needs" of communities are being estimated by those who don't have a good understanding of the "needs" of these communities.

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