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Maintenance and sustained use of insecticide-treated bednets and curtains three years after a controlled trial in western Kenya*

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In large experimental trials throughout Africa, insecticide-treated bednets and curtains have reduced child mortality in malaria-endemic communities by 15%–30%. While few questions remain about the efficacy of this intervention, operational issues around how to implement and sustain insecticide-treated materials (ITM) projects need attention. We revisited the site of a small-scale ITM intervention trial, 3 years after the project ended, to assess how local attitudes and practices had changed. Qualitative and quantitative methods, including 16 focus group discussions and a household survey (= 60), were employed to assess use, maintenance, retreatment and perceptions of ITM and the insecticide in former study communities. Families that had been issued bednets were more likely to have kept and maintained them and valued bednets more highly than those who had been issued curtains. While most households retained their original bednets, none had treated them with insecticide since the intervention trial was completed 3 years earlier. Most of those who had been issued bednets repaired them, but none acquired new or replacement nets. In contrast, households that had been issued insecticide-treated curtains often removed them. Three (15%) of the households issued curtains had purchased one or more bednets since the study ended. In households where bednets had been issued, children 10 years of age and younger were a third as likely to sleep under a net as were adults (relative risk (RR) = 0.32; 95% confidence interval (95%CI) = 0.19, 0.53). Understanding how and why optimal ITM use declined following this small-scale intervention trial can suggest measures that may improve the sustainability of current and future ITM efforts.
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Keywords: insecticide-treated bednets; malaria control; prevention; sustainability

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Division of Parasitic Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Public Health Service, United States Department of Health and Human Services, Atlanta, USA 2: Vector Biology Control and Research Centre, Kenya Medical Research Institute, Kisumu, Kenya

Publication date: November 1, 1999

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