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Markets, voucher subsidies and free nets combine to achieve high bed net coverage in rural Tanzania.

Khatib, R. A., Killeen, G. F., Abdulla, S. M. K., Kahigwa, E., McElroy, P. D., Gerrets, R. P. M., Mshinda, H., Mwita, A. and Kachur, S. P. (2008) Markets, voucher subsidies and free nets combine to achieve high bed net coverage in rural Tanzania. Malaria journal, 7 (98). pp. 1-9. ISSN 1475-2875

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Tanzania has a well-developed network of commercial ITN retailers. In 2004, the government introduced a voucher subsidy for pregnant women and, in mid 2005, helped distribute free nets to under-fives in small number of districts, including Rufiji on the southern coast, during a child health campaign. Contributions of these multiple insecticide-treated net delivery strategies existing at the same time and place to coverage in a poor rural community were assessed.


Cross-sectional household survey in 6,331 members of randomly selected 1,752 households of 31 rural villages of Demographic Surveillance System in Rufiji district, Southern Tanzania was conducted in 2006. A questionnaire was administered to every consenting respondent about net use, treatment status and delivery mechanism.


Net use was 62.7% overall, 87.2% amongst infants (0 to 1 year), 81.8% amongst young children (>1 to 5 years), 54.5% amongst older children (6 to 15 years) and 59.6% amongst adults (>15 years). 30.2% of all nets had been treated six months prior to interview. The biggest source of nets used by infants was purchase from the private sector with a voucher subsidy (41.8%). Half of nets used by young children (50.0%) and over a third of those used by older children (37.2%) were obtained free of charge through the vaccination campaign. The largest source of nets amongst the population overall was commercial purchase (45.1% use) and was the primary means for protecting adults (60.2% use). All delivery mechanisms, especially sale of nets at full market price, under-served the poorest but no difference in equity was observed between voucher-subsidized and freely distributed nets.


All three delivery strategies enabled a poor rural community to achieve net coverage high enough to yield both personal and community level protection for the entire population. Each of them reached their relevant target group and free nets only temporarily suppressed the net market, illustrating that in this setting that these are complementary rather than mutually exclusive approaches.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Bed nets, Pregnant woman, subsidized bed net, vector control, children under-five
Subjects: Health Systems > Health financing & economics
Malaria > Vector control
Divisions: Ifakara Health Institute > Biomedical
Depositing User: Mr Joseph Madata
Date Deposited: 06 Aug 2012 07:30
Last Modified: 16 Aug 2012 15:57

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