Email updates

Keep up to date with the latest news and content from Malaria Journal and BioMed Central.

Open Access Highly Accessed Research

Nets, spray or both? The effectiveness of insecticide-treated nets and indoor residual spraying in reducing malaria morbidity and child mortality in sub-Saharan Africa

Nancy Fullman1*, Roy Burstein1, Stephen S Lim1, Carol Medlin2 and Emmanuela Gakidou1

  • * Corresponding author: Nancy Fullman nf4@uw.edu

Author Affiliations

1 Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA

2 Independent Consultant, Seattle, WA, USA

For all author emails, please log on.

Malaria Journal 2013, 12:62  doi:10.1186/1475-2875-12-62

Published: 13 February 2013

Abstract

Background

Malaria control programmes currently face the challenge of maintaining, as well as accelerating, the progress made against malaria with fewer resources and uncertain funding. There is a critical need to determine what combination of malaria interventions confers the greatest protection against malaria morbidity and child mortality under routine conditions.

Methods

This study assesses intervention effectiveness experienced by children under the age of five exposed to both insecticide-treated nets (ITNs) and indoor residual spraying (IRS), as compared to each intervention alone, based on nationally representative survey data collected from 17 countries in sub-Saharan Africa.

Results

Living in households with both ITNs and IRS was associated with a significant risk reduction against parasitaemia in medium and high transmission areas, 53% (95% CI 37% to 67%) and 31% (95% CI 11% to 47%) respectively. For medium transmission areas, an additional 36% (95% CI 7% to 53%) protection was garnered by having both interventions compared with exposure to only ITNs or only IRS. Having both ITNs and IRS was not significantly more protective against parasitaemia than either intervention alone in low and high malaria transmission areas. In rural and urban areas, exposure to both interventions provided significant protection against parasitaemia, 57% (95% CI 48% to 65%) and 39% (95% CI 10% to 61%) respectively; however, this effect was not significantly greater than having a singular intervention. Statistically, risk for all-cause child mortality was not significantly reduced by having both ITNs and IRS, and no additional protectiveness was detected for having dual intervention coverage over a singular intervention.

Conclusions

These findings suggest that greater reductions in malaria morbidity and health gains for children may be achieved with ITNs and IRS combined beyond the protection offered by IRS or ITNs alone.

Keywords:
Malaria; Insecticide treated nets; Indoor residual spraying; Effectiveness