Mosquito nets and the poor: Can social marketing redress inequities in access?

Rose Nathan, Honorati Masanja, Hassan Mshinda, Joanna A. Schellenberg, Don De Savigny, Christian Lengeler, Marcel Tanner, Cesar G. Victora

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


Treated mosquito nets are a practical malaria control tool. However, implementation of efficient delivery mechanisms remains a challenge. We investigated whether social marketing of treated mosquito nets results in decreased equity in rural Tanzania, through household surveys before the start of a social marketing programme and 3 years later. About 12 000 household heads were asked about ownership of nets and other assets including a tin roof, radio, or bicycle. A socio-economic status score was developed for each household. Net ownership was calculated for households in each quintile of this score, from poorest to least poor. In 1997, about 20% of the poorest households and over 60% of the least poor households owned a mosquito net. Three years later, more than half of the poorest households owned a net, as did over 90% of the least poor: the ratio of net ownership among the poorest to least poor increased from 0.3 in 1997 to 0.6 in 2000. Social marketing in the presence of an active private sector for nets was associated with increased equity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1121-1126
Number of pages6
JournalTropical Medicine and International Health
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Equity
  • Malaria
  • Mosquito nets
  • Poverty
  • Social marketing
  • Tanzania

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Parasitology
  • Immunology


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