Ideational factors associated with net care behaviour: a multi-country analysis

E. Kuor Kumoji, Grace N. Awantang, Michael Toso, Diarra Kamara, Thérèse Bleu, Wani Lahai, Musa Sillah-Kanu, Abdul Dosso, Dorothy Achu, Stella Babalola

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Malaria is endemic to sub-Saharan African countries. Mass and routine distribution, promotion, and use of ITNs are critical components of malaria prevention programmes. Correct and consistent use of insecticide-treated mosquito nets (ITN) is an effective strategy for malaria prevention. To extend bed-net lifespan, the World Health Organization recommends folding or tying up ITNs when they are not in use. This study analyses factors associated with net care practices in three African countries. Methods: Researchers collected household data nationwide in Côte d’Ivoire, from the North and Far North regions of Cameroon, and from Port Loko and Bo districts in Sierra Leone, between 2018 and 2019. The dependent variable was respondents reporting that they fold or tie up their nets. The study adjusted for selected sociodemographic, ideational (psychosocial), and household variables using multilevel models. The analysis was limited to women of reproductive age and their male spouses/partners from households with at least one ITN: 2,940 respondents in Cameroon, 6,105 in Côte d’Ivoire, and 2,730 in Sierra Leone. Results: Among respondents, 50.2% in Cameroon, 52.0% in Côte d’Ivoire and 75.6% in Sierra Leone reported folding or tying up their net when it was not in use. In all three countries, the data showed significant clustering at both household and community levels, indicating the influence of factors operating at these levels on net-care behaviour. The odds of reporting the behaviour varied significantly by geographic unit in each country. Consistent use of nets was strongly correlated with net-care behaviour. Furthermore, five ideational variables were positively associated with the outcome behaviour in all three countries: positive attitude towards net care, perceived susceptibility for malaria, response-efficacy of ITNs, perceived self-efficacy for net use, and the perception that net use was a community norm. Additional significant ideational variables included positive attitudes towards net use (Cameroon and Côte d’Ivoire), perceived severity of malaria (Côte d’Ivoire), and interpersonal communication about malaria (Côte d’Ivoire). Conclusions: The study identified ideational variables associated with recommended net-care practice. Programme efforts designed to promote net-care practices and extend average lifespan of ITNs may be more effective if they emphasize positive attitudes towards net care, perceived susceptibility of malaria infection, response-efficacy of ITNs, perceived self-efficacy for net use, and promote net-care behaviour as a positive community norm.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number53
JournalMalaria journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2022


  • Bed nets
  • Cameroon
  • Côte d’Ivoire
  • Ideation
  • Insecticide-treated net
  • Malaria
  • Net care
  • Sierra Leone
  • Social and behaviour change communication

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Infectious Diseases


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