Background: Insecticide treated bed nets (ITNs), though proven to be effective in preventing malaria will have little impact unless people sleep under them. Several studies have shown that owned ITNs are usually not used and that ITN use is influenced by several factors that vary between communities.
Objective: To investigate the factors influencing the use of mosquito bed nets in households in the Buea Health District (BHD) in Cameroon.
Material and Methods: A cross-sectional study with two-stage cluster sampling included 420 households from 35 sites. Questionnaires adapted from the Malaria Indicator Survey were used. CSPro 4.1 and Epi info 3.5.3 were used to create database and analyze respectively.
Results: ITN ownership in the BHD was high (92.6%; 95% CI: 89.6%-94.9%) but ITN use was less than average (41.2%; 95% CI: 39.2%-43.3%). ITN use was least likely in the age group 5-15 years (P<0.01), in educated individuals (P<0.01) and in households with less than one ITN for two persons (P<0.01). White ITNs were less likely to be used (P<0.01). Conclusion: There is a gap between ITN ownership and use in the malaria holoendemic BHD and ITN use is associated with age of individual, level of education, colour of ITNs and household net density. Use of the highly owned ITNs could be increased by targeting the least protected 5-15 years age group and schooling individuals; by promoting school-based education on ITN use.
Keywords: Insecticide-treated nets, malaria, Buea Health District
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