Household ITN accessibility and availability in Katondo and Makululu Townships of Kabwe
Mwiimbu, Christopher Kalulu
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Background: Prior to the study, it was not possible to ascertain whether the ITN program in Kabwe that aimed to distribute ITNs to families with children younger than five was done according to the set targets. There were unconfirmed reports that Kabwe DHMT had been facing problems in implementing the ITN program. To date, research has not been done to look at accessibility and availability of ITNs in homes.Research Questions: This study was designed to answer the following research questions: (i) What is the Level of ITN availability at household level? (ii) What is the level of ITN accessibility at household level? (iii) What are the sources of ITNS among Households and (iv) What Factors are responsible for ITN availability and accessibility.Methodology: A cross sectional study of 150 randomised households in two highly endemic malaria areas (Makululu and Katondo in Kabwe) and health care staff involved in the ITN program were studied. One focus group discussion was held with health care staff. A survey questionnaire was administered to heads of households and this was followed purposively with indepth interviews depending on what was found in the home.Results:. Majority of households had an insecticide treated bednet for every bed space. There was a differential availability of insecticide treated nets by township with Makululu having more bed spaces with insecticide treated nets than Katondo. The distribution of the insecticide treated nets to ensure household accessibility was rather slow and very sparse. Accessibility seemed to have doubled between 2009 and 2010. There was a differential accessibility of insecticide treated nets by township with Makululu having more insecticide treated nets than Katondo. Conclusion: The data support the idea that ITN distribution programmes in Kabwe could have an important role in malaria prevention in Katondo and Makululu. On the basis of the researcher‘s evaluation the effect of the program appeared modest but less useful as part of a larger district malaria control strategy. The researcher recommends maintaining high coverage, there is need to consider ITN mass distribution in the two localities to be attained. It is also recommended that the Ministry considers undertaking operations research. Operations research would facilitate the integration of public health perspectives and community perspectives into a coherent promotional strategy. Such an approach becomes particularly important if ITNs are to be introduced to large populations.