Insecticide Treated Nets

Used consistently and correctly, insecticide-treated nets (ITN) protect people from malaria-carrying mosquitoes. The World Health Organization recently issued a position statement on ITNs, calling on National Malaria Control Programs and their partners distributing ITNs to purchase only long-lasting insecticidal nets (LLINs), which remain effective for several years.

The World Malaria Report 2005 reported that only 3 percent of children under age five in sub-Saharan Africa were using an ITN every night. Tremendous resources have since been devoted to scaling up ITN and LLIN ownership. You can read about various distribution modes here. Some of the private organizations and initiatives established to ramp up the supply and distribution of LLINs are:

Malaria No More
Nothing But Nets
Madness Against Malaria
World Swim Against Malaria

Usage continues to pose a problem. USAID and The President's Malaria Initiative have led the way in focusing on LLIN use and measuring progress not simply by the number of LLINs distributed, but by the actual reduction in the incidence and burden of malaria.

To establish guidelines for safety and efficacy, the World Health Organization Pesticide Evaluation Scheme (WHOPES) reviews and recommends new LLIN technologies. It has become a “gold standard” because donors purchase WHOPES-recommended LLINs almost exclusively. According to Africa Fighting Malaria's analysis, between 2001 and 2006, only two products received a WHOPES recommendation, creating an effective duopoly. Between 2004 and 2006, Vestergaard-Frandsen and Sumitomo Chemical were awarded the vast majority of government contracts for net distribution. Sumitomo sold about 30-million Olysets®, and Vestergaard sold more than 100 million PermaNets®. As of April 2007, Vestergaard manufactured 75% of all available LLINs and maintains 60% of global production capacity. Nearly all (95%) of its business comes from government contracts.

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