Until recently only two indicators were used to evaluate malaria prevention with insecticide-treated nets (ITN): “proportion of households with any ITN” and “proportion of the population using an ITN last night”. This study explores the potential of the expanded set of indicators recommended by the Roll Back Malaria Monitoring and Evaluation Reference Group (MERG) for comprehensive analysis of universal coverage with ITN by applying them to the Nigeria 2010 Malaria Indicator Survey data.
The two additional indicators of “proportion of households with at least one ITN for every two people” and “proportion of population with access to an ITN within the household” were calculated as recommended by MERG. Based on the estimates for each of the four ITN indicators three gaps were calculated: i) households with no ITN, ii) households with any but not enough ITN, iii) population with access to ITN not using it. In addition, coverage with at least one ITN at community level was explored by applying Lot Quality Assurance Sampling (LQAS) decision rules to the cluster level of the data. All outcomes were analysed by household background characteristics and whether an ITN campaign had recently been done.
While the proportion of households with any ITN was only 42% overall, it was 75% in areas with a recent mass campaign and in these areas 66% of communities had coverage of 80% or better. However, the campaigns left a considerable intra-household ownership gap with 66% of households with any ITN not having enough for every family member. In contrast, the analysis comparing actual against potential use showed that ITN utilization was good overall with only 19% of people with access not using the ITN, but with a significant difference between the North, where use was excellent (use gap 11%), and the South (use gap 36%) indicating the need for enhanced behaviour change communication.
The expanded ITN indicators to assess universal coverage provide strong tools for a comprehensive system effectiveness analysis that produces clear, actionable evidence of progress as well as the need for specific additional interventions clearly differentiating between gaps in ownership and use.Vector control
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