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Unforeseen Misuses of Bed Nets in Fishing Villages Along Lake Victoria


Unforeseen Misuses of Bed Nets in Fishing Villages Along Lake Victoria

Noboru Minakawa et al. Malar J.


Background: To combat malaria, the Kenya Ministry of Health and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) have distributed insecticide-treated nets (ITNs) for use over beds, with coverage for children under five years of age increasing rapidly. Nevertheless, residents of fishing villages have started to use these bed nets for drying fish and fishing in Lake Victoria. This study investigated the extent of bed net misuse in fishing villages.

Methods: Seven fishing villages along the lake were surveyed to estimate how widely bed nets were being used for fishing and drying fish. Villagers were asked why they used the bed nets for such purposes.

Results: In total, 283 bed nets were being used for drying fish. Of these, 239 were long-lasting insecticidal bed nets (LLIN) and 44 were non-long-lasting insecticidal bed nets (NLLIN). Further, 72 of the 283 bed nets were also being used for fishing. The most popular reasons were because the bed nets were inexpensive or free and because fish dried faster on the nets. LLINs were preferred to NLLINs for fishing and drying fish.

Conclusion: There is considerable misuse of bed nets for drying fish and fishing. Many villagers are not yet fully convinced of the effectiveness of LLINs for malaria prevention. Such misuses may hamper the efforts of NGOs and governmental health organizations.


Figure 1
Figure 1
Omena fish spread on bed nets on a beach by Lake Victoria.

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