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Trop Med Int Health. 2010 Apr;15(4):480-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-3156.2010.02478.x. Epub 2010 Feb 9.

Long-lasting insecticide-treated net usage in eastern Sierra Leone - the success of free distribution.

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Médecins Sans Frontières-United Kingdom, London, UK. <>



Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) runs a malaria control project in Bo and Pujehun districts (population 158 000) that includes the mass distribution, routine delivery and demonstration of correct use of free, long-lasting insecticide-treated nets (LLINs). In 2006/2007, around 65 000 LLINs were distributed. The aim of this follow-up study was to measure LLIN usage and ownership in the project area.


Heads of 900 randomly selected households in 30 clusters were interviewed, using a standardized questionnaire, about household use of LLINs. The condition of any LLIN was physically assessed.


Of the 900 households reported, 83.4% owning at least one LLIN. Of the 16.6% without an LLIN, 91.9% had not participated in the MSF mass distribution. In 94.1% of the households reporting LLINs, the nets were observed hanging correctly over the beds. Of the 1135 hanging LLINs, 75.2% had no holes or 10 or fewer finger-size holes. The most common source of LLINs was MSF (75.2%). Of the 4997 household members, 67.2% reported sleeping under an LLIN the night before the study, including 76.8% of children under 5 years and 73.0% of pregnant women.


Our results show that MSF achieved good usage with freely distributed LLINs. It is one of the few areas where results almost achieve the new targets set in 2005 by Roll Back Malaria to have at least 80% of pregnant women and children under 5 years using LLINs by 2010.

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