December 13, 2013
Graduate student Tomonori Hoshi of the Nagasaki University Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, Professor Noboru Minakawa and Assistant Professor Toshihiko Sunahara of the Institute of Tropical Medicine, and researchers from the University of Malawi published an article in "Emerging Microbes & Infections," an academic journal published by the Nature Publishing Group (NPG).
Malaria remains a severe health problem in Sub-Saharan Africa, with approximately 650,000 to 1 million deaths each year. Insecticide-treated bednets are an effective tool for controlling malaria, and many organizations have distributed bednets in malaria endemic areas. Nevertheless, the distributed bednets are not always used. There has been a need to discover a new approach to promoting bednet use among people owning but not using a bednet. In this research project, malaria-carrying mosquitoes were captured in 36 households in the Zomba district of Malawi, where malaria is endemic. These freshly captured mosquitoes were shown to the respective heads of households, and health education was provided. In order to confirm how much of an impact showing living mosquitoes had on bednet usage, three groups were compared: (1) a group which was not provided health education, (2) a group in which health education was provided using standard educational leaflets only, and (3) a group in which living mosquitoes were shown while providing health education using standard educational leaflets. The study found that the group to whom education was provided while showing living mosquitoes had a 13-fold increase in bednet use in comparison to the group for which education was not provided. This simple and effective method shows great promise for use in communities and schools in areas in which malaria is endemic.
Beyond buzzing: mosquito watching stimulates malaria bednet use?a household-based cluster-randomized controlled assessor blind educational trial