Background: Insecticide-treated nets (ITN) and long-lasting insecticidal nets (LLIN) are important means of malaria prevention. Although there is consensus regarding their importance, there is uncertainty as to which delivery strategies are optimal for dispensing these life saving interventions. A targeted mass distribution of free LLINs to children under five and pregnant women was implemented in Zanzibar between August 2005 and January 2006. The outcomes of this distribution among children under five were evaluated, four to nine months after implementation. Methods: Two cross-sectional surveys were conducted in May 2006 in two districts of Zanzibar: Micheweni (MI) on Pemba Island and North A (NA) on Unguja Island. Household interviews were conducted with 509 caretakers of under-five children, who were surveyed for socio-economic status, the net distribution process, perceptions and use of bed nets. Each step in the distribution process was assessed in all children one to five years of age for unconditional and conditional proportion of success. System effectiveness (the accumulated proportion of success) and equity effectiveness were calculated, and predictors for LLIN use were identified. Results: The overall proportion of children under five sleeping under any type of treated net was 83.7% (318/380) in MI and 91.8% (357/389) in NA. The LLIN usage was 56.8% (216/380) in MI and 86.9% (338/389) in NA. Overall system effectiveness was 49% in MI and 87% in NA, and equity was found in the distribution scale-up in NA. In both districts, the predicting factor of a child sleeping under an LLIN was caretakers thinking that LLINs are better than conventional nets (OR = 2.8, p = 0.005 in MI and 2.5, p = 0.041 in NA), in addition to receiving an LLIN (OR = 4.9, p < 0.001 in MI and in OR = 30.1, p = 0.001 in NA). Conclusions: Targeted free mass distribution of LLINs can result in high and equitable bed net coverage among children under five. However, in order to sustain high effective coverage, there is need for complimentary distribution strategies between mass distribution campaigns. Considering the community's preferences prior to a mass distribution and addressing the communities concerns through information, education and communication, may improve the LLIN usage
System effectiveness of a targeted free mass distribution of long lasting insecticidal nets in Zanzibar, Tanzania
Beer, N., Ali, AS., de Savigny, D., Al-Mafazy, AWH., Mohamed, M., Abass, AK., Omari, RS., Bjorkman, A., & Kallander, K. (2010). System effectiveness of a targeted free mass distribution of long lasting insecticidal nets in Zanzibar, Tanzania. Malaria Journal, 9(Article 173).