The effect of delivery mechanisms on the uptake of bed net re-impregnation in Kilifi District, Kenya
The results of recently completed trials in Africa of insecticide-treated bed nets (ITBN) offer new possibilities for malaria control. These experimental trials aimed for high ITBN coverage combined with high re-treatment rates. Whilst necessary to understand protective efficacy, the approaches used to deliver the intervention provide few indications of what coverage of net re-treatment would be under operational conditions. Varied delivery and financing strategies have been proposed for the sustainable delivery of ITBNs and re-treatment programmes. Following the completion of a randomized, controlled trial on the Kenyan coast, a series of suitable delivery strategies were used to continue net re-treatment in the area. The trial adopted a bi-annual, house-to-house re-treatment schedule free of charge using research project staff and resulted in over 95% coverage of nets issued to children. During the year following the trial, sentinel dipping stations were situated throughout the community and household members informed of their position and opening times. This free re-treatment service achieved between 61-67% coverage of nets used by children for three years. In 1997 a social marketing approach, that introduced cost-retrieval, was used to deliver the net re-treatment services. The immediate result of this transition was that significantly fewer of the mothers who had used the previous re-treatment services adopted this revised approach and coverage declined to 7%. The future of new delivery services and their financing are discussed in the context of their likely impact upon previously defined protective efficacy and cost-effectiveness estimates.