Bed net use and associated factors in a rice farming community in central Kenya
Ng'ang'a, Peter N
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Abstract Background Use of insecticide-treated nets (ITNs) continues to offer potential strategy for malaria prevention in endemic areas. However their effectiveness, sustainability and massive scale up remain a factor of socio-economic and cultural variables of the local community which are indispensable during design and implementation stages. Methods An ethnographic household survey was conducted in four study villages which were purposefully selected to represent socio-economic and geographical diversity. In total, 400 households were randomly selected from the four study villages. Quantitative and qualitative information of the respondents were collected by use of semi-structured questionnaires and focus group discussions. Results Malaria was reported the most frequently occurring disease in the area (93%) and its aetiology was attributed to other non-biomedical causes like stagnant water (16%), and long rains (13%). Factors which significantly caused variation in bed net use were occupant relationship to household head (χ2 = 105.705; df 14; P = 0.000), Age (χ2 = 74.483; df 14; P = 0.000), village (χ2 = 150.325; df 6; P = 0.000), occupation (χ2 = 7.955; df 3; P = 0.047), gender (χ2 = 4.254; df 1; P = 0.039) and education levels of the household head or spouse (χ2 = 33.622; df 6; P = 0.000). The same variables determined access and conditions of bed nets at household level. Protection against mosquito bite (95%) was the main reason cited for using bed nets in most households while protection against malaria came second (54%). Colour, shape and affordability were some of the key potential factors which determined choice, use and acceptance of bed nets in the study area. Conclusion The study highlights potential social and economic variables important for effective and sustainable implementation of bed nets-related programmes in Sub-Saharan Africa.