Why just having a net is not enough

On September 4, 2010, in malaria, research, by Karen Grepin

This month’s Malaria Journal has published the findings of a survey of bednet ownership, use and quality conducted in Western Kenya (h/t to @bbbrieger for flagging it).  The results may be a depressing to those who are strong believers in the importance of insecticide treated bed nets in the fight against malaria.


The author find:

“Of the 670 households surveyed, 95% owned at least one net.”



Wow, great news.  But then they go on:

“Only 59% of household residents slept under a net during the night prior to the survey.   77% of those who slept under a net used an insecticide-treated net (ITN) or long-lasting insecticide-treated nets (LLIN).   Out of 1,627 nets in the survey households, 40% were deemed to be of poor quality because of holes. Compared to other age groups, children aged 5-14 years were most likely to have slept under nets of poor quality (odds ratio 1.41; p= 0.007).”

The large discrepancy between ownership and use has been documented elsewhere, but there has been much less documentation of the low quality of the bednets.  I am sure that sleeping under a bednet with a hole is probably still better than not sleeping under a bednet, but it does raise one more important issue that must be dealt with when so much focus has been given to bednets for the control of malaria.

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1 Response » to “Why just having a net is not enough”

  1. Andrew says:

    In the same issue, more (slightly) depressing news:

    Wash durability and optimal drying regimen of four brands of long-lasting insecticide-treated nets after repeated washing under tropical conditions
    Francis K Atieli, Stephen O Munga, Ayub V Ofulla, John M Vulule
    Malaria Journal 2010, 9:248 (30 August 2010)

    Essentially all treatment is lost after 10 "real world" washes with some brands.

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