How do Camaroonians in different areas use mosquito nets?
Researchers looked at how nearly 6000 people in different health districts in Cameroon use, care for and clean nets used to keep away insects like malaria-carrying mosquitos. They found that people in the Bamenda Health District (BHD) used more bednets than people in other areas, and they washed their bednets more thoroughly.
Malaria is a disease caused by a parasite that is carried by mosquitoes. The parasite can spread to humans when mosquitoes bite the skin to suck blood. In Cameroon, the Bamenda, Santa and Tiko Health Districts have high rates of Malaria. One of the best ways to protect against this disease is by using long-lasting insecticidal nets, which are nets that create a physical barrier to keep mosquitos out, and which also contain insect-killing chemicals (insecticides).
Other studies have looked at such mosquito nets in Cameroon, but they didn’t examine how people take care of their nets and if different areas have different usage patterns.
In this study, researchers looked at how people used mosquito nets in Tiko from June to July 2017, and in the Bamendaand Santa from March to May 2018. (This kind of study is known as a cross-sectional study, because researchers gather information from across the population by looking at different groups over a similar period in time.)
They studied 5 870 people altogether between the healthcare areas.
They found that 92.5% of houses had at least 1 long-lasting insecticidal net, and 66.8% had 1 that was shared by 2 people. More than half of the participants had access to these nets, but using one was influenced by gender, health and if a person was married or not. Santa had the lowest number of bednets and Bamanda had the highest.
Only 20.5% of people used their bed nets daily. Some used theirs for goalposts or yard fences.
More than 80% of the household heads in all districts agreed that the nets can be washed, but people in Bamanda washed their nets more thoroughly than people in the other areas.
The researchers say there is a link between the healthcare areas and the number of people who own, use and care for the bednets. They suggested that when bednets are sold or given away for free, people should be educated on how they can protect others from Malaria, and on how to wash them.
The researchers added that because they did a cross-sectional study, they couldn’t figure out the reasons why people didn’t use bednets, or if it had affected their lives in any way.
Their results may have also been skewed by the community receiving free bednets in some areas.
The authors of this paper were from Cameroon.
The Bamenda, Santa and Tiko Health Districts are in the highest malaria transmission strata of Cameroon. The purpose of this study was to explore the indicators of ownership and utilisation as well as maintenance of long-lasting insecticidal nets (LLINs) in three health districts in Cameroon. A cross-sectional household survey involving 1,251 households was conducted in the Bamenda, Santa and Tiko Health Districts in Cameroon. A structured questionnaire was used to collect data on LLINs ownership, utilisation, and maintenance as well as demographic characteristics. The average number of LLINs per household was higher in the Bamenda Health District (BHD) compared to the Tiko Health District (THD) (2.5±1.4 vs 2.4±1.6) as well as the household ownership of at least one LLIN (93.3% vs. 88.9%). The proportion of the de facto population with universal utilisation was higher in BHD compared to THD (13.1% vs 0.2%). In multinomial regression analysis, households in the Santa Health District (SHD) (OR = 0.4, 95% = C.I; 0.2 – 0.8, p = 6.10×10−3), were less likely to own at least one LLIN, while those in the BHD (OR = 1.3, 95% = C.I; 0.8 – 2.1, p = 0.33) were more likely to maintain LLINs compared to those in THD. Ownership of LLINs was low in SHD and THD in comparison to the goal of one LLIN for every two household members. Overall, LLINs coverage and accessibility was still low after the free Mass Distribution Campaigns, making it difficult for all household members to effectively use LLINs.
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