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Who buys nets? Factors associated with ownership and use of purchased mosquito nets in sub-Saharan Africa
Authors: Bolanle Olapeju, Ifta Choiriyyah, Kathryn Bertram, Danielle Piccinini, Hunter Harig, Richmond Ato Selby, Matthew Lynch, and Hannah Koenker
Source: Malaria Journal, 18(401); DOI:10.1186/s12936-019-3020-7
Topic(s): Insecticidetreated mosquito nets (ITNs)
Country: Africa
   Multiple African Countries
Published: DEC 2019
Abstract: Background Public sector strategies to promote insecticide-treated net (ITN) access have resulted in increased ITN ownership across sub-Saharan Africa. However, the current status of the private sector distribution channel for nets has not been fully explored. This multi-country study explored the prevalence of net purchases and the characteristics of households that had purchased nets and used such nets in sub-Saharan Africa. Methods Data from recent Malaria Indicator Survey (MIS) or Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) in 16 countries were analysed to explore the prevalence of purchased nets. Purchased nets were defined as nets obtained from shops/markets or pharmacies. Additional sub-analysis of factors associated with ownership and use of purchased nets was conducted in seven countries with over 10% of nets reported as purchased. Key outcomes included: prevalence of purchased nets out of all nets, household ownership of a purchased net, and whether a purchased net was used the previous night. Analytical methods included country level tests of association and multivariable logistic regressions. Results Among all nets, the proportion of purchased nets in the study countries ranged from 0.8 to 32.7% and most (median?=?77%) of these purchased nets were ITNs. Although the private nets are presumed to be from the retail, non-public sector, the prevalence of treated purchased nets suggests that some purchased nets may be “leaked” ITNs from public sector distributions, and thus, may be an informal sector rather than part of the formal “private sector”. Urban, wealthier households as well as those with educated heads were more likely to own purchased nets. Use of such nets was, however, lower in wealthier households. In addition, net use was higher in households owning insufficient nets for their family size, and when the nets were newer than 24 months. Conclusion The formal and informal private sector have played a role in bolstering net access rates in some settings. Study findings can help relevant malaria control stakeholders gain insight on the contribution of purchased nets on their overall ITN strategy, identify potential target populations for private sector nets as well as inform the design and distribution of private sector insecticide-treated nets that appeal to their target groups.