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Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2013 Jun;88(6):1109-15. doi: 10.4269/ajtmh.12-0641. Epub 2013 Mar 25.

Trials of improved practices (TIPs): a strategy for making long-lasting nets last longer?

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Department of International Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA.


Long-lasting insecticidal net (LLIN) use is a proven malaria prevention method. Mass distribution has greatly expanded LLIN access in sub-Saharan Africa, but a gap remains between LLIN ownership and use. Furthermore, LLINs wear out more quickly than anticipated. This paper suggests a participatory research strategy-trials of improved practices (TIPs)-that could identify locally appropriate approaches to prolonging net life and increasing effective use. We used TIPs to overcome barriers to optimal net use in the Peruvian Amazon. Working with 15 families in three villages, we tested home treatment of cotton nets, use of an alternative netting fabric, and alternative washing and care instructions. TIPs helped confirm feasibility of these interventions. Although our findings are time- and context-specific, TIPs could help improve consistency and effectiveness of current LLIN use and prolong net lifespan in sub-Saharan Africa and elsewhere. This would help maximize the value of shrinking donor resources for malaria.

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