Gains in awareness, ownership and use of insecticide-treated nets in Nigeria, Senegal, Uganda and Zambia

Carol A Baume & Celeste Marin | 07 Aug 2008
Malaria Journal

In April 2000, the Roll Back Malaria (RBM) "Abuja Summit" set a target of having at least 60% of pregnant women and children under five use insecticide-treated nets (ITNs). Thereafter, programmes were implemented to create demand, reduce taxes and tariffs, spur the commercial market, and reach vulnerable populations with free or subsidized ITNs. Using national ITN monitoring data from the USAID-sponsored AED/NetMark project, this article examines the extent to which these activities were successful in increasing awareness, ownership, and use of nets and ITNs.


A series of surveys with standardized sampling and measurement methods was used to compare four countries at two points in time. Surveys were conducted in 2000 and again in 2004 (Nigeria, Senegal, Zambia) or 2006 (Uganda). They contained questions permitting classification of each net as untreated, ever-treated or currently-treated (an ITN). Household members as well as nets owned were enumerated so that households, household members, and nets could be used as units of analysis. Several measures of net/ITN ownership, plus RBM ITN use indicators, were calculated. The results show the impact of ITN activities before the launch of massive free net distribution programmes.


In 2000, treated nets were just being introduced to the public, but four to six years later the awareness of ITNs was nearly universal in all countries but Nigeria, where awareness increased from 7% to 60%. By any measure, there were large increases in ownership of nets, especially treated nets, in all countries. All countries but Nigeria made commensurate gains in the proportion of under-fives sleeping under a net/ITN, and in all countries the proportion of pregnant women sleeping under a net/ITN increased greatly.


A mix of demand creation, a strengthened commercial sector, reduced taxes and tariffs, and programmes making ITNs available at reduced prices resulted in impressive gains in awareness, ownership, and use of nets and ITNs in Nigeria, Senegal, Zambia, and Uganda between 2000 and 2004-2006. None of the countries reached the ambitious Abuja targets for ITN use, but they made substantial progress towards them.

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