Annals of African Medicine
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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2012  |  Volume : 11  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 163-168

The use and misuse of mass distributed free insecticide-treated bed nets in a semi-urban community in Rivers State, Nigeria


Department of Community Medicine, University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital, Port Harcourt, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
Best Ordinioha
P. O. Box 162, Omoku, Onelga, Rivers State
Nigeria
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/1596-3519.96879

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Background: Insecticide-treated bed net (ITN) is currently distributed free of charge to vulnerable groups in Nigeria, for malaria control. Consistent use of the nets is required for maximum effectiveness; but studies indicate that the nets are often jettisoned in periods of low mosquito activity and high night time temperature. The objective of this study has been to assess the use of mass distributed nets in a semi-urban community in Rivers State, south-south Nigeria, during the late dry season, when mosquito activity is at the lowest in the community. Materials and Methods: The study was carried out in Ishiodu - Emohua, using a cross-sectional study design. The data was collected using a structured, interviewer-administered questionnaire, administered to female head of households in the community, with under-five children. Results: A total of 170 respondents were studied; they had an average age of 34.3 ± 7.6 years, most were married (86.5%), and had secondary school education (68.2%). All the households owned at least one ITN, and an average of 1.7 nets, with 75.3% of the households owning two or more ITNs. Almost all the nets (99.4%) were obtained free of charge. Of the 170 households that received the nets, 71.8% had hanged the nets as at the time of the survey; 83.6% of these hanged the nets over a bed, while 10.7% used the nets as window curtain. Of the 102 ITNs that were properly deployed, only 27.5% were occupied the night before the survey, by an average of 2.5 persons, mainly under-five children (37.7%). Conclusion: The distribution of free ITNs has resulted in universal household ownership, but the use of the nets is still very poor. Proper health education is required to encourage the consistent use of the nets, even in hot night, with low mosquito activity.


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