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Determinants of bed net use in children under five and household bed net ownership on Bioko Island, Equatorial Guinea

Alberto L García-Basteiro12*, Christopher Schwabe3, Cynthia Aragon4, Giovanna Baltazar4, Andrea M Rehman5, Abrahan Matias4, Gloria Nseng6 and Immo Kleinschmidt5

Author Affiliations

1 Preventative Medicine and Epidemiology Unit, Hospital Clínic, C/Villarroel 174, CP 08036, Barcelona, Spain

2 Barcelona Centre for International Health Research (CRESIB, Hospital Clínic-Universitat de Barcelona), Barcelona, Spain

3 Medical Care Development International, 8401 Colesville Rd., Suite 425, Silver Spring, MD 20910, USA

4 Medical Care Development International, Malabo, Equatorial Guinea

5 MRC Tropical Epidemiology Group, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Keppel Street, London WC1E 7HT, UK

6 Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, Malabo, Equatorial Guinea

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Malaria Journal 2011, 10:179  doi:10.1186/1475-2875-10-179

Published: 29 June 2011



As part of comprehensive malaria control strategies, the Bioko Island Malaria Control Project (BIMCP) distributed 110,000 long-lasting insecticide-treated nets (LLIN) in late 2007 with the aim of providing one net for each sleeping area. Despite attaining initially very high levels of net coverage and net use, many children under five years of age did not sleep under a net by 2009, according to annual malaria indicator surveys. The aim of this study was to assess the determinants of bed net use in children under five and bed net ownership of the households in which they live.


Using data from annual cross-sectional household surveys of 2008 and 2009, we investigated factors associated with sleeping under a mosquito net the night prior to the survey, and a households owning at least one net, in all households which had at least one child under five years. Amongst others, caregiver's knowledge of malaria and household characteristics including a socio-economic score (SES), based on ownership of household assets, were analysed for their effect on net ownership and use.


There was a decline of around 32% in the proportion of households that owned at least one net between 2008 and 2009. Higher household bed net ownership was associated with knowing how malaria was prevented and transmitted, having the house sprayed in the previous 12 months, having fewer children under five in the household, and children being sick at some point in the previous 14 days. Higher bed net use in children < 5 was associated with being sick at some point in the last 14 days prior to the survey, living in an urban area, more years of education of the head of the household, household ownership of at least one ITN (as opposed to an untreated net) and the year in which the survey took place.


The big fall in bed net use from 2008 to 2009 was attributable to the striking decline in ownership. Although ownership was similar in rural and urban areas, rural households were less likely to protect their children with bed nets. Knowledge about malaria was an important determinant of bed net ownership. Further research is needed to elucidate the decline in bed net ownership between 2008 and 2009.