Background: Long-lasting insecticidal nets (LLINs) are a key malaria control intervention. To investigate factors associated with ownership and use of LLINs in Uganda, a cross-sectional community survey was conducted in March-June 2017, approximately 3 years after a national Universal Coverage Campaign (UCC).
Methods: Households from 104 clusters (health sub-districts) in 48 districts were randomly selected using two-staged cluster sampling; 50 households were enrolled per cluster. Outcomes were household ownership of LLINs (at least one LLIN), adequate LLIN coverage (at least one LLIN per 2 residents), and use of LLINs (resident slept under a LLIN the previous night). Associations between variables of interest and outcomes were made using multivariate logistic regression.
Results: In total, 5196 households, with 29,627 residents and 6980 bed-nets, were included in the analysis. Overall, 65.0% of households owned at least one LLIN (down from 94% in 2014). In the adjusted analysis, factors most strongly associated with LLIN ownership were living in a wealthier household (highest tercile vs lowest; adjusted odds ratio [aOR] 1.94, 95% CI 1.66-2.28, p < 0.001) and time since the last UCC (29-37 vs 42-53 months; aOR 1.91, 95% CI 1.60-2.28, p < 0.001). Only 17.9% of households had adequate LLIN coverage (down from 65% in 2014). Factors most strongly associated with adequate coverage were fewer residents (2-4 vs ≥ 7; aOR 6.52, 95% CI 5.13-8.29, p < 0.001), living in a wealthier household (highest tercile vs lowest; aOR: 2,32, 95% CI 1.88-2.85, p < 0.001) and time since the last UCC (29-37 vs 42-53 months; aOR 2.13, 95% CI 1.61-2.81, p < 0.001). Only 39.5% of residents used a LLIN the previous night. Age was strongly associated with LLIN use, as were household wealth and time since the last UCC. Children < 5 years (44.7%) and residents > 15 years (44.1%) were more likely to use nets than children aged 5-15 years (30.7%; < 5 years: aOR 1.71, 95% CI 1.62-1.81, p < 0.001; > 15 years: aOR 1.37, 95% CI 1.29-1.45, p < 0.001).
Conclusions: Long-lasting insecticidal net ownership and coverage have reduced markedly in Uganda since the last net distribution campaign in 2013/14. Houses with many residents, poorer households, and school-aged children should be targeted to improve LLIN coverage and use. Trial registration This study is registered with ISRCTN (17516395).
Keywords: Long-lasting insecticidal nets (LLINs); Malaria; Uganda; Vector control.