A critical enquiry into variability of insecticidal net use in Cambodia: implications for assessing appropriateness of malaria elimination interventions
Journal Contribution - Journal Article
Distributing long-lasting insecticidal nets (LLINs) to individuals living in malaria-endemic regions is a cornerstone of global malaria control. National malaria control programs aim to achieve "universal coverage" of at-risk populations to reach LLINs' full potential to reduce malaria, progress of which is then measured by indicators constructed from standardized questionnaires. Through an exploration of variability in LLIN use in Cambodia, we argue that indicators of universal coverage of LLINs are not sufficiently commensurate with the realities they are intended to measure, limiting the suitability of the data to serve program and policy purposes in a malaria elimination era. Reflecting on the various sources of variability in LLIN use, we apply and extend the concept of "appropriateness" as a third prong to the widely used "efficacy" and "effectiveness" criteria for evaluating LLINs as a tool for malaria prevention. Describing first the different dimensions of the intervention and the sociocultural context separately, we will further show how the variability underlying both is affected and induced by inappropriate aspects of the intervention and the measurements of its impact. We consider the gap between "net use" and the numerical representations of such local net use justifies further exploration of potential strategies to improve LLIN use in subgroups where persisting malaria transmission clusters.