Skip to main content

Free Content Introducing insecticide-treated nets in the Kilombero Valley, Tanzania: the relevance of local knowledge and practice for an Information, Education and Communication (IEC) campaign

Download Article:

You have access to the full text article on a website external to Ingenta Connect.

Please click here to view this article on Wiley Online Library.

You may be required to register and activate access on Wiley Online Library before you can obtain the full text. If you have any queries please visit Wiley Online Library


Since 1997 the WHO has been recommending an integrative strategy to combat malaria including new medicines, vaccines, improvements of health care systems and insecticide-treated nets (ITNs). After successful controlled trials with ITNs in the past decade, large-scale interventions and research now focus on operational issues of distribution and financing. In developing a social marketing approach in the Kilombero Valley in south-east Tanzania in 1996, a combination of qualitative and quantitative methods was employed to investigate local knowledge and practice relating to malaria. The findings show that the biomedical concept of malaria overlaps with several local illness concepts, one of which is called maleria and refers to mild malaria. Most respondents linked maleria to mosquitoes (76%) and already used mosquito nets (52%). But local understandings of severe malaria differed from the biomedical concept and were not linked to mosquitoes or malaria. A social marketing strategy to promote ITNs was developed on the basis of these findings, which reinforced public health messages and linked them with nets and insecticide. Although we did not directly evaluate the impact of promotional activities, the sharp rise in ownership and use of ITNs by the population (from 10 to > 50%) suggests that they contributed significantly to the success of the programme. Local knowledge and practice is highly relevant for social marketing strategies of ITNs.

Keywords: Tanzania; disease perceptions; local knowledge; malaria; mosquito nets; vector control

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Ifakara Health Research and Development Centre, Ifakara, Tanzania 2: Swiss Tropical Institute, Basel, Switzerland

Publication date: August 1, 2001


Access Key

Free Content
Free content
New Content
New content
Open Access Content
Open access content
Subscribed Content
Subscribed content
Free Trial Content
Free trial content
Cookie Policy
Cookie Policy
Ingenta Connect website makes use of cookies so as to keep track of data that you have filled in. I am Happy with this Find out more