Coverage outcomes (effects), costs, costeffectiveness, and equity of two combinations of long-lasting insecticidal net (LLIN) distribution channels in Kenya: a two-arm study under operational conditions
Malaria-endemic countries distribute long-lasting insecticidal nets (LLINs) through combined channels with ambitious, universal coverage (UC) targets. Kenya has used eight channels with variable results. To inform national decision-makers, this two-arm study compares coverage (effects), costs, cost-effectiveness, and equity of two combinations of LLIN distribution channels in Kenya.
Two combinations of five delivery channels were compared as ‘intervention’ and ‘control’ arms. The intervention arm comprised four channels: community health volunteer (CHV), antenatal and child health clinics (ANCC), social marketing (SM) and commercial outlets (CO). The control arm consisted of the intervention arm channels except mass campaign (MC) replaced CHV. Primary analysis used random sample household survey data, service-provider costs, and voucher or LLIN distribution data to compare between-arm effects, costs, cost-effectiveness, and equity. Secondary analyses compared costs and equity by channel.
The multiple distribution channels used in both arms of the study achieved high LLIN ownership and use. The intervention arm had significantly lower reported LLIN use the night before the survey (84·8% [95% CI 83·0–86·4%] versus 89·2% [95% CI 87·8–90·5%], p < 0·0001), higher unit costs ($10·56 versus $7·17), was less cost-effective ($86·44, 95% range $75·77–$102·77 versus $69·20, 95% range $63·66–$77·23) and more inequitable (Concentration index [C.Ind] = 0·076 [95% CI 0·057 to 0·095 versus C.Ind = 0.049 [95% CI 0·030 to 0·067]) than the control arm. Unit cost per LLIN distributed was lowest for MC ($3·10) followed by CHV ($10·81) with both channels being moderately inequitable in favour of least-poor households.
In line with best practices, the multiple distribution channel model achieved high LLIN ownership and use in this Kenyan study setting. The control-arm combination, which included MC, was the most cost-effective way to increase UC at household level. Mass campaigns, combined with continuous distribution channels, are an effective and cost-effective way to achieve UC in Kenya. The findings are relevant to other countries and donors seeking to optimise LLIN distribution.
The assignment of the intervention was not at the discretion of the investigators; therefore, this study did not require registration.