Sahel Medical Journal

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Perception and predictors of insecticide-treated net use in a rural Northern Nigerian community

Z Iliyasu, A Umar, G Aminu, S Jahun


Background: Sub-Saharan Africa carries a high burden of malaria. Despite evidence of the effectiveness of insecticide treated nets (ITNs), utilization rates are still low.
Methods: We assessed community perception of malaria and  determinants of ITN use among 158 households in rural northern Nigeria using interviewer administered structured questionnaires.
Results: Nearly all respondents 157(99.4%) were familiar with the term “malaria” and attributed it to mosquito bite. Other mentioned causes of malaria included unclean environment (74%), heat (7%), overwork (1.9%), and contaminated water (0.6%). The symptoms mentioned included fever (95%), headache (52.5%), body weakness (41.1%) and vomiting (25.9%). Most respondents (84.0%) were aware of ITNs but only 34.8% used them. Willingness to buy at current market price, health workers as
source of information and the use of mosquito coils were significant predictors of ITN use.

Conclusion: High awareness of ITNs did not translate into its utilization. Public health education in malaria including free ITN use should be delivered by health workers.
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