Title

Determinants of the use of insecticide-treated bed nets on islands of pre- and post-malaria elimination: an application of the health belief model in Vanuatu

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

11-2014

Keywords

qualitative content-analysis; transmission; zanzibar; coverage; reasons;motivation; settings; disease; risk

Abstract

Background: Insecticide-treated nets (ITNs) are an integral piece of any malaria elimination strategy, but compliance remains a challenge and determinants of use vary by location and context. The Health Belief Model (HBM) is a tool to explore perceptions and beliefs about malaria and ITN use. Insights from the model can be used to increase coverage to control malaria transmission in island contexts.

Methods: A mixed methods study consisting of a questionnaire and interviews was carried out in July 2012 on two islands of Vanuatu: Ambae Island where malaria transmission continues to occur at low levels, and Aneityum Island, where an elimination programme initiated in 1991 has halted transmission for several years.

Results: For most HBM constructs, no significant difference was found in the findings between the two islands: the fear of malaria (99%), severity of malaria (55%), malaria-prevention benefits of ITN use (79%) and willingness to use ITNs (93%). ITN use the previous night on Aneityum (73%) was higher than that on Ambae (68%) though not statistically significant. Results from interviews and group discussions showed that participants on Ambae tended to believe that risk was low due to the perceived absence of malaria, while participants on Aneityum believed that they were still at risk despite the long absence of malaria. On both islands, seasonal variation in perceived risk, thermal discomfort, costs of replacing nets, a lack of money, a lack of nets, nets in poor condition and the inconvenience of hanging had negative influences, while free mass distribution with awareness campaigns and the malaria-prevention benefits had positive influences on ITN use.

Conclusions: The results on Ambae highlight the challenges of motivating communities to engage in elimination efforts when transmission continues to occur, while the results from Aneityum suggest the possibility of continued compliance to malaria elimination efforts given the threat of resurgence. Where a high degree of community engagement is possible, malaria elimination programmes may prove successful.

Publisher Attribution

Watanabe, N., Kaneko, A., Yamar, S., Leodoro, H., Taleo, G., Tanihata, T., ... & Larson, P. S. (2014). Determinants of the use of insecticide-treated bed nets on islands of pre-and post-malaria elimination: an application of the health belief model in Vanuatu. Malaria journal, 13(1), 1.