By ELIZABETH MIAE
A PNG Institute of Medical Research (PNGIMR) survey found that 90% of households nationwide own mosquito nets but are not using them.
Figures show that 80.1% of households surveyed have some sort of net and 64.6% owned a long lasting insecticide treated net (LLIN), the type currently being distributed in PNG by Rotary Against Malaria (RAM).
Experts say sleeping under a LLIN is the best protection against malaria.
As few across the country are using the nets, many are still being infected with malaria every day.
RAM, through the round eight funding from the Global Fund, aims to distribute more than six million LLINs
nationwide from 2009-14.
The rollout began in NCD and Central provinces early this year.
The LLINs can last for three to five years and it kills and repels mosquitoes, protects against other bugs and does not require re-treatment.
The previously distributed insecticide treated nets required re-treatment.
A journalism workshop on malaria this week, headed by the Population Services International (PSI), stressed that the biggest challenge in malaria prevention was getting people to sleep under a mosquito net every night.
Workshop facilitators outlined some of reasons why people did not use the mosquito nets:
* The fear of being poisoned by the chemical in the treated nets;
* It was too hot to sleep under such nets;
* Space did not allow for all to sleep under mosquito nets; and
* Some used it as fishing nets or curtains.
PSI malaria programme director Miranda Bryant said another method of malaria prevention was the indoor residual spraying (IRS).
However, she said, the IRS was complicated and expensive to carry out.
“For the IRS to be carried out, it will need an army of people to do it and they would need to spray 80% home twice a year.
“That will typically work in an area where there is an outbreak or an epidemic but it will not work everywhere,” she said.