There is much emphasis on social marketing as a means of scaling up coverage with insecticide-treated nets and the question has arisen whether nets provided free-of-charge will be looked after by householders.
Over several years questionnaires and surveys of usage and condition of nets were carried out throughout a town and 15 villages in north-east Tanzania, where nets and insecticide have to be purchased and in 24 other villages where over 15000 nets had been donated and annual re-treatment is provided free-of-charge.
There was very high population coverage in the town but, in the villages where nets have to be purchased, only 9.3% of people used nets which were intact and/or had been insecticide-treated and could, therefore, provide protection. However, where nets had been provided free, over 90% of the nets were still present and were brought for re-treatment several years later.
In this part of Tanzania, social marketing has performed well in a town but very poorly in villages. However, the study showed that people look after and bring for re-treatment nets which had been provided free-of-charge.
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