The longevity of long lasting insecticidal nets (LLINs) under field conditions has important implications for malaria vector control. The behaviour of bed net users, including net care and repair, may protect or damage bed nets and impact the physical integrity of nets. However, this behaviour, and the motivating and inhibiting factors, is not well understood.
Qualitative research methods were used to examine behaviour, attitudes and norms around damage, care and repair of LLINs. Eighteen in-depth interviews (IDI) and six focus group discussions (FGD) were conducted with LLIN users in two local government areas of Nasarawa State, Nigeria. A brief background questionnaire with the 73 participants prior to IDIs or FGDs collected additional data on demographics, net use, and care and repair behaviour.
Respondents cited that the major causes of damage to bed nets are primarily children, followed by rodents, everyday handling that is not gentle, and characteristics of sleeping spaces. Caring for nets was perceived as both preventing damage by careful handling and keeping the net clean, which may lead to over-washing of LLINs. Repairing a damaged net was considered something that net users should do and the responsibility of adults in the household. Despite this, reported frequency of net repair was low (18%). Motivations for taking care of and repairing nets centred around caring for one’s family, avoiding mosquito bites, saving money, and maintaining the positive opinion of others by keeping a clean and intact net. Barriers to net care and repair related to time availability and low perceived value of bed nets or of one’s health.
This study provides novel and valuable insights on the perceptions and attitudes of LLIN users in Nasarawa, Nigeria on the durability of bed nets, how to care for and repair nets, and for what reasons. Communication around net care should stress proper daily storage of nets, regular net inspections, prompt repairs, and clarify misconceptions about proper washing frequency and technique. These messages should include compelling motivators, such as local social norms of household hygiene.
Published in Malaria Journal
Citation: Hunter, Gabrielle C., et al.
Country: NigeriaKeywords: Public health communications | Research | Malaria | Preventive treatments | SDG3
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