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Trop Med Int Health. 2007 Feb;12(2):230-7.

Using schoolchildren's reports of bed net use monitored by schoolteachers as a proxy of community coverage in malaria endemic areas of Uganda.

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  • 1Vector Control Division, Ministry of Health, Kampala, Uganda.



Community-based information on the delivery and use of health interventions is important to monitor the effectiveness of the Roll Back Malaria programme. However, community surveys to determine coverage for insecticide-treated bed nets are time-consuming and costly. We wanted to assess whether schoolchildren's reports of household ownership of a bed net and coverage among high-risk groups monitored by schoolteachers through a questionnaire could be used as a proxy of household ownership of bed net and coverage at community level, for routine monitoring of malaria control programmes.


3602 schoolchildren in 39 randomly selected schools and 2798 heads of households in 39 villages were interviewed about their use of either insecticide-treated or untreated bed nets.


The overall household ownership of any kind of bed net was 35% in school surveys and 31% in household surveys (P < 0.001). Household ownership of insecticide-treated nets was 23% and 22%, respectively (P = 0.4); household ownership of untreated nets was 15% and 9%, respectively (P < 0.001). There was significant correlation between estimates of any bed net and treated net ownership based on household surveys and estimates based on school surveys (P < 0.01 for both).


In areas with high school attendance rates, schoolchildren's report of bed net use monitored by schoolteachers through a questionnaire could give a good approximation of household ownership of bed net at community level with about +/-5% difference between community and school surveys. However, further operational research is required to investigate how the feasibility of large-scale implementation might be, by sending the questionnaire to the schools through routine channels and by independent handling by the school administration and teachers.

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