The impact of behaviour change communication on the use of insecticide treated nets: a secondary analysis of ten post-campaign surveys from Nigeria

Malar J. 2016 Aug 19;15(1):422. doi: 10.1186/s12936-016-1463-7.


Background: Mass distribution campaigns of insecticide-treated nets for malaria prevention are usually accompanied by intensive behaviour change communication (BCC) to encourage hanging and use of nets. However, data on the effectiveness of these communication efforts are scarce. In preparation for the next round of mass campaigns in Nigeria, a secondary analysis of existing data from post-campaign surveys was undertaken to investigate the influence of BCC on net hanging and use.

Methods: Surveys were undertaken between 2009 and 2012 in ten states in Nigeria using standardized questionnaires. Two-stage cluster sampling was used to select households in each study site. Outcomes were defined as the effects of BCC message exposure and recall on knowledge, attitudes, perception as well as intentions and actual use. From the univariable analysis, potential confounders and explanatory variables were identified and key effects explored in multivariable linear or logistic regression models; terms in the models were kept if they had a marginal significance with p < 0.2. To quantify the effects from BCC, a treatment effect model was used with an inverse-probability weight regression adjustment.

Results: More than half of the respondents (58.4 %; 95 % CI 56.0, 60.7) had heard a message about net use or hanging during or after the distribution campaign, with media cited as the most common source of information. Attitude towards net use was positively linked to the number of messages recalled and was overall better in the northern study sites. The number of messages recalled was also the strongest predictor of knowledge (p < 0.001). All BCC outcomes showed a significant increase in net use, which was strongest for the confidence to take action regarding nets with an overall effect of 17 %-point increase of net use comparing poor and excellent confidence levels. Intention to use every night increased net use by 15 %-points and discussing net use in the family by 8 % points. All these effects were statistically significant (p < 0.001).

Conclusions: Multichannel BCC campaigns as well as other media were effective in contributing to an increase in net culture, hanging and use, particularly by vulnerable groups.

Keywords: IEC/BCC; ITN use; Malaria; Nigeria.

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Health Communication*
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Insecticide-Treated Bednets / statistics & numerical data*
  • Male
  • Mosquito Control / methods*
  • Nigeria
  • Surveys and Questionnaires