Free Insecticide Treated Bednets Cut Childhood Malaria-Caused Deaths Up To 44%

No outdoor insecticide spraying is needed to make dramatic progress against childhood malaria. Indoor residual spraying (IRS) also is not needed to achieve the 44% protection rate mentioned in our headline (although IRS could be added to boost effectiveness). There is a caveat: the study we are referring to, by the Malaria Control Department of the Kenyan Ministry of Health, demonstrates that one of the most effective resources to protect against malaria, pesticide treated bed nets, have to be "free" or the highest level of effectiveness won't be reached.

Reinforcing the long standing, rational position of environmentalists, the Kenyan work demonstrates that malaria infection rates are not best controlled by merely encouraging widespread DDT use. Someone or some group has to fund carefully planned vector control programs in the poor nations where infection rates are highest.

"Children sleeping under insecticide-treated nets (ITNs) are less likely to die from malaria and nets should be distributed free to all who need them, according to research from Kenya.""Increased ITN coverage in Kenya has resulted in 44 per cent fewer deaths in children, and increases in the birth weight of babies, according to preliminary data from the Malaria Control Department of the Kenyan Ministry of Health, announced at a meeting in Nairobi last week (16 August)."

"And research published in PLoS Medicine this week (20 August) shows that making ITNs available for free — rather than selling them commercially or heavily [subsidizing] them — achieves the highest overall usage in children."

We suggest visiting this Centers For Disease Control web page on vector control for balanced information on this topic. That site is also where our graphic came from. Via::SciDevNet