A study by the Health Communication Capacity Collaborative (HC3) published in the latest version of the journal PLOS ONE, Correlates of Intra-Household ITN Use in Liberia sheds light on ways to increase net use among those with net access. The results reveal a great deal of useful information for those involved in social and behavior change communication (SBCC) malaria interventions in Liberia.
- This study found that only about one-third of survey respondents had one or more insecticide treated nets in their household. Far fewer had a net for every sleeping space or one for every two people in the house. The proportion of household members sleeping under a net increased dramatically if the household owned two nets, or three or more nets. This means, first and foremost, that Liberians need more nets.
- Another finding was that female caregiver ideational characteristics were a significant predictor of whether or not nets were being used. If a female caregiver perceived malaria as a severe disease, or felt she was able to recognize signs of severe malaria, members of her household were more likely to have slept under a net. Interestingly, a female caregiver’s perceived susceptibility (whether or not she thinks her family will get malaria) isn’t significantly related to net use. This has been seen in other studies. One explanation is that people sleeping under ITNs feel less likely to get malaria.
- An encouraging finding was that those exposed to malaria prevention messages were twice as likely to sleep under nets.
- Two counties were found to have far fewer nets than the others. This helps planners prioritize these areas in upcoming LLIN distributions.