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Indian J Med Res. 2008 Nov;128(5):623-9.

Community practices of using bed nets & acceptance & prospects of scaling up insecticide treated nets in north-east India.

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Regional Medical Research Centre, NE Indian Council of Medical Research, Dibrugarh, Assam, India.



The National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme (NVBDCP), India has been promoting and scaling up the use of insecticide-treated nets (ITNs) in the tribal dominated malarious areas of north-east India. But, information on sleeping habits, bed net ownership and use practices, and feedback of communities in ITN--targeted areas is needed for formulating a strategic framework for upscaling the coverage of ITNs. We carried out a community-based cross-sectional survey in select areas of Nagaland and Mizoram (where ITNs were introduced) along with Assam (where ITNs were not introduced) to know the response of community.


Following large scale introduction of ITNs during 2001-2002 in the north-eastern States of Nagaland and Mizoram by NVBDCP, India, a cross-sectional community-based survey was undertaken in April-May, 2003 covering 435 households of Nagaland and 464 households in Mizoram, using a structured questionnaire, to assess the demographic variables relevant to bed net use, bed net washing practices and acceptability of ITNs etc., for upscaling the coverage of ITNs in the surveyed communities. A total of 448 households in 8 villages in a non-ITN PHC area of Assam were served as the control area.


The average bet net usage per family (2.01 to 2.65). Bed net use was mostly seasonal in Nagaland where a majority (65.1-78.7%) used bed nets only during summers and monsoon as compared to the year round use in Mizoram (83.5%) and Assam (78.9%). Frequent washing of nets was most common in Assamese communities with 77 per cent households washing their nets at least once in a month. More than two third users favoured use of ITNs over the conventional indoor residual spray of DDT for malaria control.


ITNs are widely acceptable in the user communities and a demand for ITNs is evident in the non-user communities of north-east India. Approach of treating community owned nets through an efficient service delivery mechanism will be a viable option for upscaling the ITN coverage.

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