Malaria and use of bed nets

During the 2011 child health social audit in Bauchi and Cross River states we collected information on malaria and the use of bed nets. In Bauchi state, 45% of all small children had suffered severe fever within the month prior to the survey. The situation was the same in Cross River state where 43% of all small children suffered fever prior to the survey.

In Bauchi state, most households, about 87%, had at least one treated bed net. However, only about half of children under four always slept under a treated bed net during malaria season. Children were more likely to sleep under a bed net if they were under two years of age, the mother had both some formal education and had received at least four government antenatal checkups.

In Cross River state, most households, about 72%, had at least one treated bed net. However, less than half (41%) of children under four always slept under a treated bed net during malaria season. Children were more likely to sleep under a bed net if they were under two years of age, came from a household with two or fewer children under the age of three, the mother had at least four antenatal care visits during her last pregnancy, the father had junior secondary or higher education and the household had enough food in the last week.

Focus group discussions on bed nets

A group of men in Bauchi discuss the use of bed nets

Across both the states, focus groups discussed why children did not sleep under bed nets. Some mentioned that they were only given one net, but had several children in the household. Others mentioned negative attitudes and concerns, such as itching, rashes, or even death.

When asked what could be done to inform people about the benefits of bed net use, focus groups felt the government and community leaders needed to do more to help educate people about safety and proper use of the bed nets.

The quotes below are from focus group discussions on the use of bed nets in Bauchi and Cross River state.

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