Implementation and acceptance of government-sponsored malaria control interventions in Meghalaya, India

Mattimi Passah, Carinthia Balabet Nengnong, Mark L. Wilson, Jane M. Carlton, Larry Kharbamon, Sandra Albert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: India has made considerable progress in malaria reduction over the past two decades, with government-sponsored indoor residual spraying (IRS) and insecticide-treated bed net (ITN) or long-lasting insecticidal nets (LLIN) distribution being the main vector-related prevention efforts. Few investigations have used non-participant observational methods to assess malaria control measures while they were being implemented, nor documented people’s perceptions and acceptance of IRS or LLINs in India, and none have done so in the northeast region. This study evaluated household (HH)-level operation of IRS and distribution of LLINs by India’s National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme (NVBDCP) in 50 villages of Meghalaya state, and documented their acceptance and use. Methods: Study field teams accompanied the government health system teams during August-October, 2019 and 2020 to observe deployment of LLINs, and record HH-level data on LLIN numbers and use. In addition, NVBDCP spray teams were followed during 2019–2021 to observe IRS preparation and administration. HH members were interviewed to better understand reasons for acceptance or refusal of spraying. Results: A total of 8386 LLINs were distributed to 2727 HHs in 24 villages from five Primary Health Centres, representing 99.5% of planned coverage. Interviews with 80 HH residents indicated that they appreciated the LLIN dissemination programme, and generally made regular and appropriate use of LLINs, except during overnight travel or when working in agricultural fields. However, HH-level IRS application, which was observed at 632 HHs, did not always follow standard insecticide preparation and safety protocols. Of 1,079 occupied HHs visited by the spray team, 632 (58.6%) refused to allow any spraying. Only 198 (18.4%) HHs agreed to be sprayed, comprising 152 (14.1%) that were only partly sprayed, and 46 (4.3%) that were fully sprayed. Reasons for refusal included: inadequate time to rearrange HH items, young children were present, annoying smell, staining of walls, and threat to bee-keeping or Eri silk moth cultivation. Conclusions: These findings are among the first in India that independently evaluate people's perceptions and acceptance of ongoing government-sponsored IRS and LLIN programmes for malaria prevention. They represent important insights for achieving India's goal of malaria elimination by 2030.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number200
JournalMalaria Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2022


  • Implementation evaluation
  • Indoor residual spraying
  • Long-lasting insecticidal nets, risk perception
  • Malaria prevention
  • Qualitative research

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Infectious Diseases


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