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What Are Insecticide Treated Nets?

Sainata (left) and Adama of Burkina Faso share an insecticide treated net.
Sainata (left) and Adama of Burkina Faso share an insecticide treated net.
April 24, 2014
Plan International USA is Proving that Preventing Malaria Can Start With a Simple Net

If you know about malaria prevention, you have probably heard of insecticide treated nets (or ITNs).

But, what exactly are they? And, how do they work?

ITNs are nets that cover beds or sleeping areas to detract mosquitoes. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the nets are treated with insecticide and, in the case of long-lasting ITNs – also called long-lasting impregnated nets (LLINs) – can last up to three years. These have been widely distributed by Plan International USA and other organizations.

The nets work. In the 12 malaria-endemic countries where Plan works, malaria-related death rates have dropped 45 percent amongst children between 0 and 5 years.

In Cameroon, more than 8 million of the nets have been distributed, and in Burkina Faso, more than 16 million have been distributed. By the end of June, Plan will have also coordinated the distribution of over 6 million nets in Togo.

“The nets have brought us much relief,” said Adama Ouedraogo, 59, of Burkina Faso. “Many were falling sick from malaria because we did not have the means to buy nets. But since we were given nets, we have put them up and we don’t take them down anymore.”

The nets have helped 51-year-old Asseita Ouedraogo care for his children.

“I have four children,” he said. “Boys aged 10, 7, and 5, and a girl who was just born. Before I received my mosquito net, every winter I fell ill with malaria and it prevented me from working. I was a regular at the clinic but since I got the net it is much better.”

Who knew? A simple net can help prevent disease and improve the lives of millions.

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