Community Participation, Poverty Reduction Important For Successful Malaria Prevention, Control Strategies

Huffington Post: Fighting Malaria Is Going to Take More Than Just Nets
Utibe Effiong, an Aspen Institute fellow and research scientist at the University of Michigan School of Public Health; and Lauretta Ovadje, postdoctoral research fellow at University of Michigan

“…The solution to the global malaria scourge goes beyond the use of [insecticide-treated nets (ITNs), long-lasting insecticidal nets (LLINs)], and other well-meaning public health measures. It begins with lifting people out of poverty. It’s only when people can meet their basic needs that health and safety become important. Public health programs continue to fail in countries like Nigeria because of poverty in the midst of plenty. … Most fishermen who can afford a regular fishing net do not misuse their ITNs. But some still do, and this is where grassroots participation in public health policy becomes essential. … When people are participants in the decision-making process, they are more likely to comply with policy. If the decision to distribute ITNs was made after consultation with primary communities, and collective resolve was made to use the nets appropriately, there would be far fewer cases of misuse…” (6/8).