Mosquito bed nets underused in Africa, Asia
While many people living in Africa and Asia may own bednets, researchers say not enough people actually use them while sleeping to protect from deadly Malaria.
Malaria is a disease carried and spread by the bite of certain mosquitos. A common way to help prevent the spread of malaria is by using a net to keep mosquitos away from a person’s body while sleeping. Some of these bednets are also treated with insecticide, a chemical deadly to insects like mosquitoes. But little was known about whether people who have access to bednets actually use them, and which types of bednets are most popular in different countries.
In this study researchers did a meta-analysis, which means they looked for answers from many different scientific articles that have been published on this topic. They looked at over 7000 articles about using bednets to prevent Malaria in Bangladesh, Vietnam, India, Saudi Arabia, Kenya, Ghana and Uganda between 2008 and 2018.
They found 106 scientific papers in which they noticed that just over 70% of people in the African and Asian studies owned bed nets. The Bangladeshi studies had the most household ownership, and the studies from Vietnam had the highest household bednet usage while sleeping.
Overall, the studies had around 40% of people who owned bednets actually used them for sleeping.
The authors said their findings show that there are not enough people who use these nets, and that governments should make bednets cheaper. They also said that the communities should be made aware of the benefits of using these nets.
The researchers cautioned however that their study didn’t include any articles that were not written in English, and most of the articles were from Africa and Asia. This means their results might not be able to correctly describe the trend of bednets across the world.
Also, they said there was high heterogeneity in the studies they reviewed, which means there were a lot of differences in the methods used, so this could also have skewed their results.
The authors of this paper were from different parts of the world, including Africa.
Background: Malaria is an endemic disease especially in tropical areas transmitted by Anopheles mosquito through their bites. Therefore, bednets are one of the best methods for protection against their bites. However, many regions have limited access to bednets and limited knowledge about their importance. Objectives: Primary objectives were to estimate bednet possession and usage rate for last 10 years. Secondary objectives aimed to calculate the prevalence of specific bednets’ types. Methods: We performed an electronic search on 12 databases, and 106 studies were included obeying the criteria. Results: 106 studies included in our meta-analysis. Study participants were mostly from Africa while a few from Asia and southern America. Overall bednet ownership rate per households among countries was 72.1% (95% CI: 62.9-79.7) while per individuals was 52.5% (95% CI: 37-67.4). In addition, overall bednet usage rate per households among countries was 41.2% (95% CI: 25.1-59.3) same as bednet usage per individuals. Conclusion: Our study suggests that the bednet ownership and usage rate among different countries are less satisfactory, hence not maximizing the potential benefit of the bed net. There is a crucial need to increase awareness towards the bednet usage across endemic areas and implement programs for free distribution of bednets.
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