Tanzania Journal of Health Research

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Scepticism towards insecticide treated mosquito nets for malaria control in rural community in north-western Tanzania

Soori E. Nnko, Susan R. Whyte, Wenzel P. Geissler, Jens Aagaard-Hansen


Despite existence of effective tools for malaria control, malaria continues to be one of the leading killer diseases especially among under-five year children and pregnant women in poor rural populations of Sub Saharan Africa. In Tanzania Mainland the disease contributes to 39.4% of the total OPD attendances. In terms of mortality, malaria is known to be responsible for more than one third of deaths among children of age below 5 years and also contributes for up to one fifth of deaths among pregnant women. This paper is based on a study conducted in a rural community along the shores of Lake Victoria in Mwanza region, North-Western Tanzania. The study explores reasons for scepticism and low uptake of insecticide treated mosquito nets (ITNs) that were promoted through social marketing strategy for malaria control prior to the introduction of long lasting nets (LLN). The paper breaks from traditional approach that tend to study low uptake of health interventions in terms of structural practical constraints – cost, accessibility, everyday priorities – or in terms of cognition – insufficient knowledge of benefits e.g. ignorance of public health messages. This paper has shown that, the majority of people who could afford the prices of ITNs and who knew where to obtain the insecticides did not necessarily buy them. This suggests that, although people tend to report cost-related factors as a barrier against the use of ITNs, there are other critical concerns at work. Without underestimating the practical factors, our study have recommended to consider critical examinations of those other concerns that hinder optimal utilization of ITN for malaria control, and the basis for those concerns.
AJOL African Journals Online