Although insecticide-treated bed nets are effective tools, use often does not follow ownership. House structure and space arrangements may make the attempt to use bed nets difficult, especially for school age children. The objectives of this study were to explore whether an individual's sleeping arrangements and house structure affect bed net use in villages along Lake Victoria in western Kenya.
METHODS: Sleeping arrangements of residents were directly observed for use of a bed net, use of a bed, and location. House size, number and types of rooms, bed availability, and residents' ages were estimated. The family heads and mothers were asked about the reason for not using bed nets. Individual bed net use was examined against age and sleeping arrangement. Net use at the household level was examined against four variables: bed availability, bed net availability, house size, and number of rooms.
RESULTS: Bed net use by children between five and 15 years of age was lower than that among the other age classes. However, age was dropped from the final model, and sleeping arrangement was significantly associated with net use. Net use was significantly associated with bed availability, number of rooms and their interaction.
CONCLUSION: Net use was affected by sleeping arrangement and availability of suitable locations for hanging nets, in addition to net availability. Most residents had likely not realized that sleeping arrangement was a factor in net use. The ease of hanging a net is particularly important for children.