A mass media health education intervention in support of investments in malaria control commodities such as insecticide-treated mosquito bed nets can result in significant, large-scale positive health changes, according to a study conducted in Cameroon.

Bed net, Photo by Gates Foundation on Flickr, Creative Commons licenseThe study found that Cameroonians with at least one bed net in their household were more likely to use the bed nets after being exposed to the “KO Palu” (Knock Out Malaria) national campaign. Approximately 298,000 adults and more than 221,000 of their children under age five slept under a bed net because of the knowledge, motivation, and/or timely reminder provided by KO Palu NightWatch activities.

The health communication program cost less than $0.16 per adult reached, and less than $1.62 per additional person protected by a net.

According to the World Health Organization’s World Malaria Report 2011, every one of Cameroon’s 19.6 million citizens is at risk of malaria, with 71 percent of them living in high transmission areas. More than 1.8 million suspected cases of malaria were recorded countrywide in 2010, along with over 4,500 recorded malaria-attributed deaths. Malaria was estimated to be responsible for 19 percent of under-five child deaths in 2008, more than any other single cause.

Citation:
1. Bowen HL. Impact of a mass media campaign on bed net use in Cameroon. Malaria Journal 2013; 12: 36. (open access)

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