• malaria;
  • bednet impregnation;
  • operational aspects;
  • side-effects;
  • Peru;
  • Ecuador;
  • Colombia;
  • Nicaragua

Community intervention projects with pyrethroid (permethrin and lambdacyhalothrin) impregnated bednets and an accompanying community education programme were carried out in 6 malaria endemic areas on the Pacific coast of Nicaragua, Ecuador, Peru and Colombia as well as in the Peruvian Amazon basin. In this paper the operational aspects are analysed: bednet coverage, results of promotional activities for increased bednet use, the sale of low-cost bednets, techniques and difficulties with impregnation, acceptance of the programme (including washing of impregnated nets), side-effects, residual concentrations of the chemical in the nets, costs of the impregnation programme and insecticide resistance of the malaria vectors.

We found that the local manufacture of bednets and their sale through village health workers, even in communities with low cash income, is a viable way of increasing bednet coverage; the impregnation of bednets is well accepted if villagers perceive a direct benefit; pretesting of the soaking capacity of different net materials should be done at central level; the instructions for the impregnation procedures of different net materials (cotton and synthetic) should be simple and unambiguous; very cheap thin net materials should be avoided, particularly in the case of lambdacyhalothrin impregnation; educational methods and/or promotion of dark-colour nets should be further tested in order to decrease the washing frequency of bednets at household level; in areas with early-biting mosquitoes further studies on the protective efficacy of bednets are necessary; careful monitoring of side-effects, particularly those of last-generation pyrethroids, is necessary; and the community-based impregnation programme is a powerful tool for strengthening community involvement in health actions.