Skip to main content

PMI: Presidents Malaria Initiative - Saving lives in Africa.

Insecticide-treated Mosquito Nets (ITNs)

  Photo of a family sleeping under an insecticide-treated mosquito net in the Rufiji District of Tanzania.
  Protected against malaria-carrying mosquitoes, a family sleeps under an ITN. Nets come in different colors, shapes, and sizes to meet users' preferences.
Source: Karie Atkinson/USAID

In Africa, malaria-carrying mosquitoes typically bite between dusk and dawn. A net hung over the sleeping area prevents mosquitoes from biting. When that net is treated with insecticide, it provides greater protection by repelling mosquitoes and killing those that land on it. The insecticides used to treat the nets have been approved for safety and efficacy by the World Health Organization (WHO). ITNs have been shown to reduce all-cause mortality in children under 5 by about 20 percent and malarial illnesses among children under 5 and pregnant women by up to 50 percent. Until a few years ago, ITNs required re-treatment with insecticide about every six months to maintain their effectiveness. Newer, long-lasting ITNs have the insecticide bound to the netting material during production, which enables them to maintain their full protective effect through at least 20 washes, which is estimated to be about three years of regular use.

PMI has focused on scaling up ITN coverage in 19 countries in Africa, targeting the most vulnerable populations by delivering ITNs through immunization or health campaigns, antenatal and child health clinics, and the commercial sector; by procuring and distributing long-lasting ITNs; and by educating at-risk populations about the benefits and proper use of ITNs.