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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Best practices for an insecticide-treated bed net distribution programme in sub-Saharan eastern Africa

  • Author(s): Sexton, Alexis R
  • et al.

Abstract Insecticide-treated bed nets are the preeminent malaria control means; though there is no consensus as to a best practice for large-scale insecticide-treated bed net distribution. In order to determine the paramount distribution method, this review assessed literature on recent insecticide treated bed net distribution programmes throughout sub-Saharan Eastern Africa. Inclusion criteria were that the study had taken place in sub-Saharan Eastern Africa, targeted malaria prevention and control, and occurred between 1996 and 2007. Forty-two studies were identified and reviewed. The results indicate that distribution frameworks varied greatly; and consequently so did outcomes of insecticide-treated bed net use. Studies revealed consistent inequities between urban and rural populations; which were most effectively alleviated through a free insecticide-treated bed net delivery and distribution framework. However, cost sharing through subsidies was shown to increase programme sustainability, which may lead to more long-term coverage. Thus, distribution should employ a catch up/keep up programme strategy. The catch-up programme rapidly scales up coverage, while the keep-up programme maintains coverage levels. Future directions for malaria should include progress toward distribution of long-lasting insecticide-treated nets.

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