During the second year of the Gambian National Impregnated Bednet Programme (NIBP) charges for insecticide ($0.50 per net) were introduced into the half of the primary health care villages in the country where insecticide have been provided free of charge the previous year. Free insecticide was provided in the remaining villages that had acted as controls during the previous year. In villages where insecticide was provided free, 77% of nets were treated with insecticide. In contrast, in villages where charges were made coverage was only 14%. During the first year of the NIBP, mortality in children was significantly lower in villages where insecticide was provided free than in the control villages. Introduction of a charge for insecticide into the first group of villages and the provision of free insecticide in the latter abolished this difference. The cash income of rural Gambians is very limited and payment of even $2-3 for insecticide treatment for all the bednets in a household represents a substantial outlay. Further education on the benefits of treatment of nets and/or the provision of cheaper insecticide will be required before the full benefits of this powerful new malaria control measure can be fully realised in the Gambia.
Cham, M.; Olaleye, B.; D’Allessandro, U.; Aikins, M.; Cham, B.; Maine, N.; Williams, L.; Mills, A.; Greenwood, B. The impact of charging for insecticide on the Gambian National Impregnated Bednet Programme. Health Policy and Planning (1997) 12 (3) 240-247.