A community based malaria control intervention using insecticide treated mosquito nets (IMN) has been implemented and tested in 13 villages of the Yombo Division, Bagamoyo District in the Coastal Region, Tanzania, an area holoendemic for P. falciparum malaria. Following extensive sociological research into local perceptions of malaria, the programme was implemented. It wa decided by consensus that village mosquito net committees would be the appropriate local level implementors. These were formed and provided with IMN's which were sold to villagers at subsidised cost. The income was invested for use by the committees for sustaining the activity. Use patterns were determined and high coverages were obtained among the community, particularly after promotions e.g. plays, school meetings etc. Malaria morbidity was measured among children 6-40 months of age in 7 index villages prior to the intervention in 1992 and in a comparison study between 3 villages using nets and 4 villages not using nets in 1993. Examination of the 7 cohorts of children was done from June to October each year covering the period of most severe transmission. The children using nets showed marked improvement in several malariometric indices. Following an initial clearance of parasitaemia with sulphadoxine/pyrimethamine, when compared with unprotected children, those with nets were slower to become re-infected (Relative Risk 0.45), had lower parasitaemias and showed marked improvement in anaemia (RR 0.47). Use of IMN's produced a 54% reduction in the prevalence of anaemia among young children. Attempts are being made to ensure that the programme is locally sustained.
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