A new study has found that children who live in households that own at least one insecticide-treated bed net are less likely to be infected with malaria and less likely to die from the disease.
By controlling other factors that might contribute to child mortality, researchers found clear evidence that bed nets reduce the number of child deaths from malaria.
Ownership of at least one insecticide-treated bed net was associated with a 23 percent reduction in mortality in children under the age of 5.
The researchers at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington, in collaboration with researchers at the University of Zambia, examined data from 29 health surveys conducted over the past decade in 22 sub-Saharan African countries to test the benefits of bed nets.
“Most of the studies that have examined the relationship between bed nets and health outcomes have been limited to a handful of countries,” said Dr. Stephen Lim, Associate Professor of Global Health at IHME and the study’s lead author.
“We now can say with confidence that bed nets reduce mortality substantially and that the efforts to distribute these bed nets across the region are working,” he stated.
The study has been published in PLoS Medicine on Sept. 6.