Insecticide-Treated Bednets

bednet.jpgMalaria kills up to 3 million people per year worldwide, most of them children in sub-Saharan Africa. The tragedy, however, is that we have tools at our disposal to curb the disease through treatment and control of the mosquito vector. Bednets, curtains, and other insecticide-treated materials provide both a chemical and physical barrier against malaria vector mosquitoes. These measures are effective in Africa because the major vectors bite late at night. When there is a high level of coverage within a community, insecticide-treated bednets protect the individuals sleeping under them and also reduce local vector populations and proportions carrying the malaria parasite by reducing mosquito longevity. The reductions achieved in malaria prevalence, anemia, and mortality are estimated to persist for at least 3 to 6 years. Long-lasting insecticidal nets, which are made from polythylene fiber into which insecticide is embedded, may be used in place of insecticide-treated bednets to eliminate the need for annual retreatment.

In the MV Sim, a family can purchase a bednet to cover one sleeping site, which translates into one net for every two people in the household. The nets last for five years, and reduce the likelihood that family members contract malaria. At the village level, bednets reduce the transmission of the disease and thus affect the village-level disease dynamics. A high enough level of coverage could generate herd immunity.

For more information, see:
Teklehaimanot, Awash, Jeffrey D. Sachs and Chris Curtis. "Malaria Control Calls for Mass Distribution of Insecticidal Bednets." The Lancet, June 21, 2007.

UN Millennium Project Working Group on Malaria

Curtis, Chris et al. "Scaling-up coverage with insecticide-treated nets against malaria in Africa: who should pay?" The Lancet: Infectious Diseases, Vol. 3, No.5, May 1, 2003.