The use of insecticide treated nets is effective in reducing all cause malaria mortality and morbidity between 17 and 43% in children under five years and provides protection to pregnant women who are most susceptible to malaria. ITNs (Insecticide Treated Nets) are easy to use and require less technical and capital outlay to implement compared with other vector control methods. They are cost-effective, which has led to widespread implementation of ITNs by countries on a large scale. ITN use has however been limited due to the cost outlay households require to make towards the purchase of nets, households' inability to associate the effectiveness of the net with the insecticide leading to low re-treatment rates in most settings and the seasonality associated with the spread of malaria. This chapter provides a review of research on ITN, strategies of improving the availability and effectiveness of the nets and a comparison of ITNs and other malaria preventive methods. The review highlights inequity in ITN use among various socio-economic groups with the poorest being the least to benefit from ITNs even where they are highly subsidized. It discusses the break through in the production of PermaNet to resolve the problem of low re-treatment of nets.
Current Molecular Medicine (2006) 6 (2) 261-267