Social determinants of long lasting insecticidal hammock-use among the Ra-Glai ethnic minority in Vietnam: implications for forest malaria control

Koen Peeters, X Nguyen Xuan, J Muela Ribera, T Ngo Duc, W. Van Bortel, N Truong Ba, KP Van, H Le Xuan, U D'Alessandro, A Erhart

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BACKGROUND: Long-lasting insecticidal hammocks (LLIHs) are being evaluated as an additional malaria prevention tool in settings where standard control strategies have a limited impact. This is the case among the Ra-glai ethnic minority communities of Ninh Thuan, one of the forested and mountainous provinces of Central Vietnam where malaria morbidity persist due to the sylvatic nature of the main malaria vector An. dirus and the dependence of the population on the forest for subsistence - as is the case for many impoverished ethnic minorities in Southeast Asia. METHODS: A social science study was carried out ancillary to a community-based cluster randomized trial on the effectiveness of LLIHs to control forest malaria. The social science research strategy consisted of a mixed methods study triangulating qualitative data from focused ethnography and quantitative data collected during a malariometric cross-sectional survey on a random sample of 2,045 study participants. RESULTS: To meet work requirements during the labor intensive malaria transmission and rainy season, Ra-glai slash and burn farmers combine living in government supported villages along the road with a second home at their fields located in the forest. LLIH use was evaluated in both locations. During daytime, LLIH use at village level was reported by 69.3% of all respondents, and in forest fields this was 73.2%. In the evening, 54.1% used the LLIHs in the villages, while at the fields this was 20.7%. At night, LLIH use was minimal, regardless of the location (village 4.4%; forest 6.4%). DISCUSSION: Despite the free distribution of insecticide-treated nets (ITNs) and LLIHs, around half the local population remains largely unprotected when sleeping in their forest plot huts. In order to tackle forest malaria more effectively, control policies should explicitly target forest fields where ethnic minority farmers are more vulnerable to malaria.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)e29991
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • B780-tropical-medicine
  • Protozoal diseases
  • Forest malaria
  • Plasmodium falciparum
  • Vectors
  • Anopheles
  • Mosquitoes
  • Vector control
  • Prevention strategies
  • Long-lasting
  • Insecticides
  • Hammocks
  • Ethnic groups
  • Acceptability
  • Social aspects
  • Effectiveness
  • Highlands
  • Seasonality
  • Vietnam
  • Asia-Southeast


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