The Abuja target of increasing the proportion of people sleeping under insecticide-treated nets (ITNs) to 60% by the year 2005, as one of the measures for malaria control in Africa, has generated an influx of resources for malaria control in several countries in the region. A national household survey conducted in 2005 by the Malaria Control Programme in Nigeria assessed the progress made with respect to ITN ownership and use among pregnant women and children under five years of age since 2000. The survey was the first nationally representative study of ITN use assessing progress towards the Abuja target amongst vulnerable groups. Population and Method A cross-sectional survey of a sample of 7,200 households, selected by a multistage stratified sampling technique from 12 randomly selected states from the six geopolitical zones of the country. Data collection was done during the malarious rainy season (October 2005) using a modified WHO Malaria Indicator Survey structured questionnaire about household ownership and utilization of mosquito nets (treated or untreated) from household heads.
Household ownership of any net was 23.9% (95% CI, 22.8%-25.1%) and 10.1% for ITNs (95% CI, 9.2%-10.9%). Education, wealth index, presence of an under-five child in the household, family size, residence, and region by residence were predictive of ownership of any net. The presence of an under-five child in the household, family size, education, presence of health facility in the community, gender of household head, region by residence and wealth index by education predicted ITN ownership. Utilization of any net by children under-five was 11.5% (95% CI, 10.4%-12.6%) and 1.7% (95% CI, 1.3%-2.2%) for ITN. Predictors of use of any net among under-five children were fever in the previous two weeks, presence of health facility in the community, caregiver's education, residence, and wealth index by caregiver's education; while religion, presence of health facility and wealth index by caregiver's education predicted the use of ITN among this group.
This study demonstrated that the substantial increase in ITN utilization among children under five years of age in Nigeria is still far from the Abuja targets.