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Study Shows Household Ownership Of ITNs Associated With Lower Child Mortality In Sub-Saharan Africa

“Children who live in households that own at least one insecticide-treated bed net (ITN) are less likely to be infected with malaria and less likely to die from the disease, according to a new study by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington,” published today in PLoS Medicine, according to an IHME press release (9/6).

“The authors analyzed … data from seven surveys in seven sub-Saharan African countries to show that children living in a household that owned an ITN were 20 percent less likely to have malaria parasites in their blood (parasitemia),” and they “found a 23 percent reduction in child deaths (aged between one month and five years) associated with family ITN ownership based on 29 surveys in 22 sub-Saharan African countries,” a PLoS press press release states (9/6). The analysis allowed researchers to reduce the number of other possible explanations — such as alternate mosquito control methods, a routine ebb-and-flow of malaria severity in the tropics, and changes in rainfall patterns that affect mosquito breeding patterns — for an observed decline in malaria cases and deaths among children under age five, KPLU’s “Humanosphere” blog writes (Paulson, 9/6).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.