Factors influencing mosquito net acquisition, treatment and utilization among care givers of under fives in Makueni district, Kenya
Malusha, James Mwashembe
MetadataShow full item record
Insecticide treated nets (ITNs) have been identified as a key strategy in addressing malaria among young children and pregnant women. However, their ownership, treatment and use among under fives have been found to be low in Kenya. A crosssectional study was therefore undertaken in Makueni district to identify factors affecting net acquisition, treatment and, use among caregivers of under fives. The results showed that although majority (88.5%) were aware of ITNs, only 48.3% knew how to treat them with insecticides. The proportion of households with children below five years that owned mosquito net was 46.3%, out of which 69.2% were treated. The mean number of any nets per household was 0.9 while that of treated net was 0.62. The study found that, only 49.6% of any net and 52.2% of ITNs were used by under fives; and further only 68.5% of those with ITNs were reported to have slept under them the night preceding the interview. The results further showed that, only 43.9% of caregivers treated their nets regularly. The mean treatment rate of nets was 2.64 (SD=2.54). The main barriers to net acquisition, treatment and use were accessibility and cost of the nets. The results also showed that ownership of'; ITN was positively associated with knowledge of FIN (p<0.01), level of education '(p<0.01), marital status (p=0.011), occupation (p<0.01), but negatively associated with household size (p=0.042). It was also positively correlated with household income (r=0.490, p<0.01), but household size was negatively correlated with ownership of ITNs (r=-0.103, p=0.01). The mean number of ITNs owned in household also differed significantly among the levels of education of caregiver (F 5,179 =4.889, P<0.01). Use of ITNs by under five children was positively associated with knowledge of ITN (p=0.024), marital status (p=0.018), occupation (p=0.043). Frequency of net treatment was positively associated with knowledge of net treatment (p<0.01), level of education (p<0.01), and positively correlated with income (r=0.242, p=0.001). The mean frequency of net treatment differed significantly among the different levels of education of caregiver (F 5,179 =4.889, P<0.01). The study concludes that factors such as level of education, knowledge of ITN, marital status, occupation, income and household size significantly influenced net acquisition, treatment and use among caregivers of under fives. Further, more interventions from Government, NGOs and other stakeholders are needed to increase ITN coverage by intensifying ITN promotion activities, increasing accessibility of subsidized long lasting treated nets including long lasting treatment kits for treating existing untreated nets, and educating caregivers on the importance of under fives always sleeping under treated net at night. Scaling up proper use of ITNs along with other initiatives can contribute significantly in reducing malaria.