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Targeted Subsidy for Malaria Control With Treated Nets Using a Discount Voucher System in Tanzania.

Mushi, A. K., Schellenberg, J. R. M. A., Mponda, H. and Lengeler, C. (2003) Targeted Subsidy for Malaria Control With Treated Nets Using a Discount Voucher System in Tanzania. Health policy and planning, 18 (2). pp. 163-171. ISSN 0268-1080

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During the last decade insecticide-treated nets have become a key strategy for malaria control. Social marketing is an appealing tool for getting such nets to poor rural African communities who are most afflicted by malaria. This approach usually involves subsidized prices to make nets and insecticide more affordable and help establish a commercial market. We evaluated a voucher system for targeted subsidy of treated nets in young children and pregnant women in two rural districts of southern Tanzania. Qualitative work involved focus group discussions with community leaders, male and female parents of children under 5 years. In-depth interviews were held with maternal and child health clinic staff and retail agents. Quantitative data were collected through interviewing more than 750 mothers of children under 5 years during a cluster sample survey of child health. The voucher return rate was extremely high at 97% (7720/8000). However, 2 years after the start of the scheme awareness among target groups was only 43% (45/104), and only 12% of women (12/103; 95% CI 4-48%) had used a voucher towards the cost of a net. We found some evidence of increased voucher use among least poor households, compared with the poorest households. On the basis of these results we renewed our information, education and communication (IEC) campaign about vouchers. Discount vouchers are a feasible system for targeted subsidies, although a substantial amount of time and effort may be needed to achieve high awareness and uptake - by which we mean the proportion of eligible women who used the vouchers - among those targeted. Within a poor society, vouchers may not necessarily increase health equity unless they cover a high proportion of the total cost: since some cash is needed when using a voucher as part-payment, poorer women among the target group are likely to have lower uptake than richer women. The vouchers have two important additional functions: strengthening the role of public health services in the context of a social marketing programme and forming an IEC tool to demonstrate the group at most risk of severe malaria.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Social Marketing, Malaria, Falciparum, Prevention, Malaria Control, Tanzania, Insecticide-treated nets, voucher
Subjects: Health Systems > Health financing & economics
Malaria > Surveillance, monitoring, evaluation
Divisions: Ifakara Health Institute > Interventions
Depositing User: Mr Joseph Madata
Date Deposited: 23 Oct 2012 13:56
Last Modified: 23 Oct 2012 13:56

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