ViALLIN: Visual Analysis of Long Lasting Insecticidal Nets to Maximise Universal Access
Long-lasting insecticidal nets (LLINs), or bed nets, are the mainstay of malaria control. However, more than 50% of people living in endemic areas are currently unprotected because LLINs often wear out sooner than their expected lifespan. The goal of this project is to develop a digital tool enabling national malaria control programs to improve planning for programmatic LLIN distribution, monitoring of LLIN quality and selection of the best product for use according to contextual settings. By providing information on mosquito net lifespan, the project aims to optimise resource use, increase the protection of children, and reduce malaria transmission in low- and middle-income countries.
The population affected the most by malaria are children under the age of five living in sub-Saharan Africa. Long-lasting insecticidal nets (LLINs), or bed nets, have been vital in reducing malaria burden among children over the last 20 years. Large scale deployment of LLINs has resulted in more than 7.6 million lives saved and contributed to 12% decline in child mortality since 2005. However, more than 50% of people living in endemic areas are currently unprotected because LLINs often wear out sooner than their expected lifespan leaving millions of children unprotected.
The goal of this project is to develop a digital tool enabling national malaria control programs in Tanzania to improve planning for programmatic LLIN distribution, monitoring of LLIN quality and selection of the best product according to contextual settings.
The digital tool is a data capture app, ViALLIN, that will allow researchers to collect images of LLINs and to measure LLIN durability based on hole surface area analysis. This analysis will be combined with household and user characteristics to predict LLIN coverage for the following year and to optimise LLIN planning and distribution. The economic benefit of improved LLIN design in terms of effective malaria prevention and its annual cost will be calculated. Overall, increasing mosquito net lifespan will optimise resource use, increase children’s protection from malaria and reduce the disease’s transmission in endemic areas.
Above banner image: The digital tool ViALLIN uses surface hole analysis to assess quality of long-lasting insecticidal nets.
On the left, two researchers manually assess a bed net using a black background. On the right, a bed net shows a clearly visible defect. Image: ViALLIN
The pipeline for detection of bed net defects starts with a database of bed nets images, which a machine learning model will use to detect the boundaries of the bed net and surface defects. Image: ViALLIN
The project will inform where and when long-lasting insecticidal net (LLIN) replenishment is needed in order to maximise LLIN coverage and will provide evidence to demonstrate the benefit of considering LLIN value for money in procurement decisions. Image: ViALLIN
- The research is part of the BRCCH Principal Investigator Initiative.
- The consortium is led by investigators Dr Sarah Moore, Prof Philippe Claude Cattin and Dr Amanda Ross.
- Additional team members include Frank Chacky, Dr Zawadi Mboma, Emmanuel Mbuba, Dr Robin Sandkühler, Prof Fabrizio Tediosi, Sumaiyya Thawer, Dr Julia Wolleb and Noela Kasonga.