A qualitative study on the acceptability and preference of three types of long-lasting insecticide-treated bed nets in Solomon Islands: Implications for malaria elimination

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Abstract

BACKGROUND: In March 2008, the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu governments raised the goal of their National Malaria Programmes from control to elimination. Vector control measures, such as indoor residual spraying (IRS) and long-lasting insecticidal bed nets (LLINs) are key integral components of this programme. Compliance with these interventions is dependent on their acceptability and on the socio-cultural context of the local population. These factors need to be investigated locally prior to programme implementation. METHOD: Twelve focus group discussions (FGDs) were carried out in Malaita and Temotu Provinces, Solomon Islands in 2008. These discussions explored user perceptions of acceptability and preference for three brands of long-lasting insecticide-treated bed nets (LLINs) and identified a number of barriers to their proper and consistent use. RESULTS: Mosquito nuisance and perceived threat of malaria were the main determinants of bed net use. Knowledge of malaria and the means to prevent it were not sufficient to guarantee compliance with LLIN use. Factors such as climate, work and evening social activities impact on the use of bed nets, particularly in men. LLIN acceptability plays a varying role in compliance with their use in villages involved in this study. Participants in areas of reported high and year round mosquito nuisance and perceived threat of malaria reported LLIN use regardless of any reported unfavourable characteristics. Those in areas of low or seasonal mosquito nuisance were more likely to describe the unfavourable characteristics of LLINs as reasons for their intermittent or non-compliance. The main criterion for LLIN brand acceptability was effectiveness in preventing mosquito bites and malaria. Discussions highlighted considerable confusion around LLIN care and washing which may be impacting on their effectiveness and reducing their acceptability in Solomon Islands. CONCLUSION: Providing LLINs that are acceptable will be more important for improving compliance in areas of low or seasonal mosquito nuisance and malaria transmission. The implications of these findings on malaria elimination in Solomon Islands are discussed.

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Atkinson, J. A., Bobogare, A., Fitzgerald, L., Boaz, L., Appleyard, B., Toaliu, H., & Vallely, A. (2009). A qualitative study on the acceptability and preference of three types of long-lasting insecticide-treated bed nets in Solomon Islands: Implications for malaria elimination. Malaria Journal, 8(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/1475-2875-8-119

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