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Health Policy Plan. 2012 Jul;27(4):316-25. doi: 10.1093/heapol/czr042. Epub 2011 Jun 6.

Determinants of hanging and use of ITNs in the context of near universal coverage in Zambia.

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Department of International Health and Development, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA, USA.


Roll Back Malaria recently recommended a policy of universal coverage with insecticide-treated nets (ITNs) so that all age groups can benefit from protection against malaria. Countries adopting the 'universal access' policy include Zambia. Policy implementation in many settings involves mass distribution of free ITNs to achieve a measure of universal coverage. This study examines ITN deployment and use in the context of mass distribution efforts towards achieving universal coverage in a malaria-endemic district in Zambia. We use multiple logistic regression to identify predictors of ITN deployment and use by anyone in the household and by children under five. Among ITN-owning households with a child under five, 69% used at least one ITN the night before the survey. About half of those children (54%) in ITN-owning households were covered the previous night. A strong and consistent predictor of use is household deployment of at least one ITN. Just over half of all ITNs were observed hanging, and reported use of nets for purposes other than malaria prevention was only 3%. Net characteristics, including shape, colour and whether or not the ITN was purchased, were not associated with net deployment. However, ITNs in poor condition are more likely to be observed hanging than ITNs in new or good condition. In the context of free mass distribution of ITNs, behaviour change communication and activities are necessary to improve use. Results suggest campaigns and messages that persuade recipients to hang up their ITNs would contribute towards closing the gap between ownership and use.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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