The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1475-2875-11-183) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
The authors declare that they have no competing interests.
CAL designed, analysed survey results and drafted the manuscript. EB designed and implemented survey and inputted into manuscript drafts. TH designed and implemented the survey. AT inputted into the design, training and implementation of the survey as well as manuscript review. DG inputted into the design, training and implementation of the survey. GT inputted into the design, analysis and manuscript reviews. AK inputted into the design and analysis of survey results as well as reviewing the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.
Since 2002/03, an estimated 4.7 million nets have been distributed in the Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples Region (SNNPR) among an at risk population of approximately 10 million people. Evidence from the region suggests that large-scale net ownership rapidly increased over a relatively short period of time. However, little is known about how coverage is being maintained given that the last mass distribution was in 2006/2007. This study sought to determine the status of current net ownership, utilization and rate of long lasting insecticide-treated nets (LLIN) loss in the previous three years in the context of planning for future net distribution to try to achieve sustainable universal coverage.
A total of 750 household respondents were interviewed across malarious, rural kebeles of SNNPR. Households were randomly selected following a two-stage cluster sampling design where kebeles were defined as clusters. Kebeles were chosen using proportional population sampling (PPS), and 25 households within 30 kebeles randomly chosen.
Approximately 67.5% (95%CI: 64.1–70.8) of households currently owned at least one net. An estimated 31.0% (95%CI 27.9–34.4) of all nets owned in the previous three years had been discarded by owners, the majority of whom considered the nets too torn, old or dirty (79.9%: 95%CI 75.8–84.0). Households reported that one-third of nets (33.7%) were less than one year old when they were discarded. The majority (58.8%) of currently owned nets had ‘good’ structural integrity according to a proportionate Hole Index. Nearly two-thirds of households (60.6%) reported using their nets the previous night. The overriding reason for not using nets was that they were too torn (45.7%, 95% CI 39.1–50.7). Yet, few households are making repairs to their nets (3.7%, 95% CI: 2.4–5.1).
Results suggest that the life span of nets may be shorter than previously thought, with little maintenance by their owners. With the global move towards malaria elimination it makes sense to aim for sustained high coverage of LLINs. However, in the current economic climate, it also makes sense to hark back to simple tools and messages on the importance of careful net maintenance, which could increase their lifespans.
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- A stitch in time: a cross-sectional survey looking at long lasting insecticide-treated bed net ownership, utilization and attrition in SNNPR, Ethiopia
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