Posts or Comments 04 December 2022

Conflict &ITNs Bill Brieger | 30 Oct 2022 07:35 pm

Insecticide Treated Mosquito Nets in Conflict-Affected Fragile States

Marwa Ramadan of the Alexandria Faculty of Medicine, Alexandria, Egypt and William Brieger of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health are presenting this information at the Annual Meeting of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene in Seattle.

Studies have highlighted the potential impact of conflict and displacement on malaria prevention and mitigation efforts, but few investigated the effect of subnational conflict intensity on access and utilization of mosquito nets in fragile countries.

This study bridges the gap by applying a conflict intensity lens to the analysis of access and utilization of Insecticide Treated Nets (ITN) in two conflict-affected fragile states (Nigeria and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)), where at least 45 % of global malaria deaths occur.

We used the Demographic health survey (DHS) and the Uppsala Conflict Data Program for information on access and utilization of nets and conflict events respectively. Access was defined as the percentage of population with at least one ITN per 2 household members, while utilization was defined as the percentage of population who slept under an ITN the night before the survey in households with at least 1 ITN.

To define conflict intensity, we linked household clusters to conflict events within a 50 km distance using ArcGIS. Conflict intensity was then categorized into medium or high intensity conflict and no or low intensity conflict using a cut-off of 2 or more deaths per 100, 000 population per cluster. Access and utilization of ITNs was compared by conflict intensity at the household cluster level.

Analysis of data from 281,689 individuals living in 58,183 households revealed that 42.8% (CI: 42.3 – 43.3%) and 39.9% (CI: 39.5 – 40.1%) of members living in neighborhoods with medium and high intensity conflict in DRC and Nigeria respectively had access to ITNS compared to 47.9% (CI: 47.6 – 48.1%) and 51.0% (CI: 50.8 – 51.2%) in no or low intensity conflict.

Similarly, 65.1% (CI: 64.3 – 65.9%) and 62.8% (CI: 62.3 – 63.3%) of those living in medium or high intensity conflict in DRC and Nigeria respectively utilized ITNS compared to 69.2 % (CI: 68.8 %-69.6 %) and 65.7% (CI: 65.4-66.0%) in no or low intensity conflict.

National malaria control programs must consider that access and utilization of ITNS are statistically significantly lower in neighborhoods with medium or high intensity conflict and target supporting interventions accordingly.

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