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Social marketing of insecticide-treated bed net for malaria control: an experience in a semi-urban community in south-south Nigeria
Background: The effectiveness of the insecticide-treated bed net in reducing the morbidity and mortality associated with malaria has been proved at all levels of malaria transmission. Several models on how to achieve massive coverage have been suggested, but social marketing of the nets is highly favoured for its sustainability.
Aim: To report the experience of a small-scale social marketing project for insecticide-treated bed net in a semi-urban community in south-south Nigeria.
Methods: The social marketing project was established in 2003 in Egbema, a semi-urban community in Rivers State, with a population of 47,000. A descriptive cross-sectional study design was used for the study, with the sales records of the project and a structured, interviewer-administered questionnaire as study tools. The sales records were analysed to assess the performance of the project, while the questionnaire was used to collect data on the socio-economic characteristics of buyers of the net.
Results: In six months, the project achieved an uptake rate of 1.10 ITN per month, per 1000 population, and a 6.5% coverage of the target population. Most, 208 (67%), of the paid up sales were achieved at the well-child clinic and the antenatal clinic of the health facilities that serve the community. Buyers in the two lower socio-economic quartiles bought only about one third of the nets. Members of the community were predominantly farmers/fishermen, but only 19 (10%) of the buyers of the nets identified themselves as such.
Conclusion: The study shows that the use of social marketing for promoting the use of ITN for malaria control is slow in a poor community.
Port Harcourt Medical Journal Vol. 1 (3) 2007: pp. 145-150