Bed net care practices and associated factors in western Kenya

Ellen M. Santos, Jenna E. Coalson, Elizabeth T. Jacobs, Yann C. Klimentidis, Stephen Munga, Maurice Agawo, Elizabeth Anderson, Nancy Stroupe, Kacey C. Ernst

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Background: Insecticide-treated nets (ITNs) and long-lasting insecticidal nets (LLINs) are effective for malaria prevention and are designed to provide nearly 5 years of mosquito protection. However, many ITNs and LLINs become damaged and ineffective for mosquito bite prevention within 1 to 2 years in field conditions. Non-adherence to recommended bed net care and repair practices may partially explain this shortened net longevity. Methods: Using data from a cross-sectional study, a net care adherence score was developed and adherence to net care practices described from two regions of western Kenya. Relationships between attitudes and environmental factors that influence net longevity were measured with adherence to bed net care practices. Results: While overall care practices are highly adherent particularly in the highlands, practices related to daily storage, washing frequency, and drying location need improvement in the lowlands. Seventy-seven percent of nets in the lowlands were washed < 3 months prior to the survey compared to 23% of nets in the highlands. More nets were dried in the sun in the lowlands (32% of nets) compared to the highlands (4% of nets). Different elements of care are influenced by various malaria attitudes and environmental factors, highlighting the complexity of factors associated with net care. For example, households that learned about net care from community events, that share a sleeping structure with animals, and that have nets used by adult males tend to adhere to washing frequency recommendations. Conclusions: In western Kenya, many nets are cared for in accordance to recommended practices, particularly in the highlands sites. In the lowlands, demonstrating methods at community events to tie nets up during the day coupled with messaging to emphasize infrequent washing and drying nets in the shade may be an appropriate intervention. As illustrated by differences between the highlands and lowlands sites in the present study, should interventions to improve adherence to bed net care practices be necessary, they should be context-specific.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number274
JournalMalaria journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Aug 14 2019


  • Bed nets
  • Care and repair
  • ITN
  • Kenya
  • LLIN
  • Malaria

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Infectious Diseases


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