VIMSAR study reveals low use of mosquito nets in Odisha's Burla

The findings of the study were recently published in the international medical sciences journal, Cureus of Springer Nature Group.
Out of the many strategies to prevent vector-borne diseases, as per WHO recommendation is widespread implementation of insecticidal nets (ITNs).
Out of the many strategies to prevent vector-borne diseases, as per WHO recommendation is widespread implementation of insecticidal nets (ITNs).File photo

SAMBALPUR: The findings of a cross-sectional study on Long-Lasting Insecticidal Net (LLIN) coverage and utilisation conducted in Burla town by a team of doctors of VIMSAR reveal that while coverage of the LLIN is high in the western Odisha town, there is need to improve use of nets through awareness and regular monitoring.

Out of the many strategies to prevent vector-borne diseases, as per WHO recommendation is widespread implementation of insecticidal nets (ITNs).
Odisha tops country’s malaria chart as mosquito nets vanish

The findings of the study were recently published in the international medical sciences journal, Cureus of Springer Nature Group. The group of doctors of VIMSAR, who conducted the study comprised Dr Sanjeeb K Mishra, Dr Gourahari Pradhan, Dr Soumya R Patra, Dr Ashok K Panigrahi and Dr Subrat K Pradhan. This cross-sectional study covered 516 households with 2,541 individuals and 1,165 LLINs.

While, the household-level coverage was found to be 94.2 per cent, the regular utilisation was 45.74 per cent. One of the researchers, Dr Mishra said, “Out of the many strategies to prevent vector-borne diseases, as per WHO recommendation is widespread implementation of insecticidal nets (ITNs). The long-lasting insecticidal net (LLIN) is an advanced ITN that demonstrates sufficient entomological efficacy in a laboratory setting. The use of LLINs is stated to be highly accepted by the community at large and has contributed to the drastic decline of malaria cases in the country.”

He further said, “Odisha has made significant progress in controlling malaria with a 90 per cent reduction in the number of cases over the last five years due to targeted interventions. The rate of reduction of vector-borne disease between 2018 and 2019 was 40 per cent against the national average of 17 per cent during the same period. Due to rapid reduction in the positivity rate, WHO mentioned Odisha model as a best practice in its World Malaria Report of 2020. This was made possible due to integrated interventions like the state-led programme called Durgama Anchlare Malaria Nirakarana (DAMaN).

Around 2.8 crore people were protected from malaria with distribution of 1.57 crore LLINs under DAMaN. While studies on LLIN coverage and its ownership in Odisha are scarce, this study is one of the few to provide such estimates and also presents an evaluation of the national programme on vector-borne diseases in Odisha.

Burla town comprises more than 46,000 inhabitants, most of whom reside in slums. Multi-stage cluster sampling was followed and 10 out of 53 anganwadis in the town were selected as the initial sampling units. In each anganwadi area, around 51 households were selected and a cross-sectional household survey to estimate the coverage and assess the Knowledge, Attitude, And Practice (KAP) was conducted just after the monsoon season, between October 1, 2022 and December 3, 2022.

In Sambalpur, two mass distributions of LLINs have taken place since its inception: first in 2016-2017 and second in 2020. The findings of this study highlight a high level of mosquito net ownership in the surveyed households, with 94.2 per cent of households owning at least one net which can be attributed to nationwide programmes aimed at combatting vector-borne diseases such as malaria and dengue.

However, usage of LLINs emerged as a significant area of interest where only about 236 (45.74 per cent) of the respondents were found using the nets regularly. Among the 280 non-users, skin reaction (38.57 per cent), low mosquito density (35.71 per cent), sleeping issues under the net (12.86 per cent), increased heat inside the net (11.07 per cent) and damaged net (1.78%) were identified to be common reasons for non-usage.

The awareness of the benefits of mosquito nets was also evaluated. While around 78.88 per cent correctly identified protection from malaria as a key benefit, awareness of other mosquito-borne diseases such as dengue, filaria, and Japanese encephalitis varied. Only a fraction of respondents identified all four diseases which highlighted the need for more comprehensive health education programmes.

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