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Controlling Malaria in Western Pacific with Mosquito Nets Treated with Pyrethroids in Village Communities, 1979–1999

Lee SelfWorld Health Organization Regional Office for Western Pacific, Manila, Philippines.

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Insecticide-treated mosquito nets were first put to practical use in the Western Pacific Region. Less than a decade after conducting workshops and other promotional activities, millions of people were protected by 1989. This occurred before the availability of commercially produced pretreated nets and before global funding for mass net distribution. This paper describes the sequence of steps leading to regional control success. The beginning stages in 1979 recognized that treating torn mosquito nets was a viable control option. Basic net treatment procedures were established by 1983 and workshops were held the next 2 years in China, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, and Vietnam. Malaria staff became convinced of net benefits and were motivated to impart their knowledge to others. Village inhabitants soaked the nets in washbasins containing permethrin or deltamethrin solution, then dried them horizontally on mats. By the 1990s, the population protected by nets had appreciably increased, and regional malaria cases confirmed by microscopy were markedly reduced. This coincided with commercial interest to mass-produce pretreated mosquito nets for worldwide use.

Author Notes

* Address correspondence to Lee Self, 141 Crescent Ct., Lyons, GA 30436. E-mail: lself3@bellsouth.net

Author's address: Lee Self, Lyons, GA, E-mail: lself3@bellsouth.net.