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Bull World Health Organ. 2012 Sep 1;90(9):672-684E. doi: 10.2471/BLT.11.094771. Epub 2012 Jul 6.

Strategies for delivering insecticide-treated nets at scale for malaria control: a systematic review.

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  • 1Faculty of Public Health and Policy, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Keppel Street, London WC1E 7HT, England.



To synthesize findings from recent studies of strategies to deliver insecticide-treated nets (ITNs) at scale in malaria-endemic areas.


Databases were searched for studies published between January 2000 and December 2010 in which: subjects resided in areas with endemicity for Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax malaria; ITN delivery at scale was evaluated; ITN ownership among households, receipt by pregnant women and/or use among children aged < 5 years was evaluated; and the study design was an individual or cluster-randomized controlled design, nonrandomized, quasi-experimental, before-and-after, interrupted time series or cross-sectional without temporal or geographical controls. Papers describing qualitative studies, case studies, process evaluations and cost-effectiveness studies linked to an eligible paper were also included. Study quality was assessed using the Cochrane risk of bias checklist and GRADE criteria. Important influences on scaling up were identified and assessed across delivery strategies.


A total of 32 papers describing 20 African studies were reviewed. Many delivery strategies involved health sectors and retail outlets (partial subsidy), antenatal care clinics (full subsidy) and campaigns (full subsidy). Strategies achieving high ownership among households and use among children < 5 delivered ITNs free through campaigns. Costs were largely comparable across strategies; ITNs were the main cost. Cost-effectiveness estimates were most sensitive to the assumed net lifespan and leakage. Common barriers to delivery included cost, stock-outs and poor logistics. Common facilitators were staff training and supervision, cooperation across departments or ministries and stakeholder involvement.


There is a broad taxonomy of strategies for delivering ITNs at scale.

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