The western Kenya insecticide-treated bed net trial
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645


Adherence with permethrin-treated bed net (ITN) use and their proper deployment was directly observed in 2,178 individuals (784 households) participating in a large-scale trial of ITNs on child mortality in western Kenya. The ITNs were distributed free of charge to ensure high coverage, resulting in a ratio of 1.46 persons per ITN. Approximately 30% of ITNs present were unused. The overall percentage adherence was 72.3%. The probability of adherence by individuals depended strongly on age (relative risk [RR] = 0.86, 95% confidence limit [CL] − 0.78–0.94), in which children less than five years of age were less likely to use ITNs than older individuals, and temperature, in which ITNs were more likely to be used in periods of cooler weather. A marginally significant diminution in adherence during the second year of the project was also observed (RR = 0.83, 95% CL = 0.68–1.01). Mosquito numbers, relative wealth, number of house occupants, and the educational level of the head of the household had no effect on adherence. In unstructured questioning of house residents, excessive heat was often cited as a reason for not deploying the child’s ITN. The most important reason for non-adherence was disruption of sleeping arrangements, indicating that ITNs were not readily redeployed in the face of shifting sleeping patterns due to visitors, funerals, house construction, and other events. Challenges faced by health education programs to maximize adherence with ITN use are discussed.


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