In 2014, the World Health Organization (WHO) Global Malaria Programme issued recommendations on the sound management of old long-lasting insecticide-treated nets (ITNs).
The policy memo provides succinct guidance on ITN misuse but does not provide recommendations for the safe repurposing of old ITNs. There is a growing demand for guidance on what to do with old or worn-out ITNs throughout their life cycle. This consensus statement provides National Malaria Control/Elimination Programs (NMCPs) and implementing partners with clear recommendations and key messages on three categories of repurposing: beneficial repurposing, neutral repurposing, and misuse.
With the introduction of universal coverage strategies and the ongoing distribution and sale of ITNs, more people have access to and are using ITNs. Older ITNs accumulate in households as they are replaced with new ITNs, and given the lack of environmentally sustainable disposal options, households are instead repurposing the old ITNs. Households have demonstrated countless ways to repurpose an old ITN, including protecting seedlings, creating screening for window and doors, or using under a mattress as pest control. There are also reports of community leaders instituting fines or penalties for families who repurpose or misuse ITNs.
This consensus statement provides guidance on preventing ITN misuse and repurposing ITN materials without reprisal.