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The importance of education to increase the use of bed nets in villages outside of Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo

DOI: 10.1186/1475-2875-9-279

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Abstract:

Two villages along the Congo River, totalling 142 households with 640 residents, were surveyed using a standard questionnaire. The interview determined the number, ages, and sexes of family members; the education level of the family head; the number, colour, and type of nets owned; and the number of nets used in the previous night. The size of house was also measured, and numbers of rooms and beds were recorded. These variables were examined to reveal important factors that affect bed net use.A total of 469 nets were counted, and nearly all nets were white LLINs. Of these nets, 229 (48.8%) nets were used by 284 (44.4%) residents. Bed nets were used by over 90% of children 5 to 15 years of age, whereas less than 50% of the residents in other age groups used bed nets. The important variables affecting bed net use were numbers of beds and rooms in the house and the education level of the family head of household.Education was the most important factor affecting bed net use in the villages outside Kinshasa. Development of an educational programme, particularly one directed toward parents, is necessary to reduce misconceptions and increase prevalence of bed net use among all age groups.Malaria is one of the leading causes of morbidity and mortality in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), with approximately 180,000 deaths attributed to malaria each year [1]. This is one fifth of the 863,000 malaria deaths reported worldwide by the World Health Organization in 2008 [2]. The large number of malaria cases in the DRC is due to high malaria transmission rates, and it is exacerbated by two decades of civil war that have decimated the health care infrastructure and the government's ability to deliver social services.Insecticide-treated bed nets offer essential protection against mosquitoes and significantly reduce morbidity and mortality due to malaria, particularly in endemic areas [3,4]. The DRC government distributed nearly 11.2 million long-lasting insecticide-treated

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