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Free Content Rolling out insecticide treated nets in Eritrea: examining the determinants of possession and use in malarious zones during the rainy season

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Summary Objective 

This paper describes determinants of insecticide treated net (ITN) ownership and use in malarious areas of Eritrea. With ITN distribution and re-treatment now free for all living in these areas, we examine barriers (other than cost) to access and use of ITNs. We explore the differences between use of an ITN as a proportion of all households in the survey (the roll back malaria indicator), and use of an ITN as a proportion of those households who already own an ITN. Methods 

A modified two-stage cluster design was used to collect data from a sample of households (n = 2341) in the three most malarious administrative zobas (zones or provinces). Logistic regression was used to analyse the data. Results 

Our findings suggest environmental heterogeneity among zobas (including program effects specific to each zoba), perception of risk, and proximity to a clinic are important predictors of ITN possession and use. Among households with at least one ITN, 17.0% reported that children under five were not under an ITN the night before the survey, while half of all such households did not have all occupants using them the night before the survey. The number of ITNs, as well as zoba, was also significant determinants of use in these households with at least one ITN. Conclusion 

Current efforts to disseminate ITNs to vulnerable populations in Eritrea are working, as suggested by high ITN ownership and net-to-person ratios inside households. However, the gap between ITN ownership and use, given ownership, is large, and may represent lost opportunities to prevent infection. Closing this gap requires concerted efforts to change behaviour to ensure that all household members use ITNs as consistently and correctly as possible during and following the rains.
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Keywords: Eritrea; effectiveness; insecticide treated net; net ownership; net use

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1:  Department of International Health and Development, School of Public health and Tropical Medicine, Tulane University, USA 2:  National Malaria Control Programme, Ministry of Health, Eritrea 3:  World Health Organization/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Cameroon

Publication date: 2006-06-01

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