Using insecticide-treated bednets can nearly halve deaths from malaria among children aged under five, according to a study in Kenya published in Saturday's Lancet.
Kenya scaled up distribution of the nets in 2004, when only seven percent of the population had access to this anti-mosquito screen. Last year, the figure was 67 percent.
Greg Fegan of the KEMRI-Wellcome Trust Research Programme in Kilifi, Kenya, led a team to investigate the success of the initiative.
Exactly 100 children died during the key first two years of the study. But the death rate among children who did not have a recently-treated bednet was 44 percent higher compared to those with the net.
The findings, published in the peer-reviewed Lancet, confirm figures issued by the Kenyan government in August.
The UN's World Health Organisation (WHO) is calling for the distribution of free treated nets as low-cost weapon against malaria.
The disease affects more than a billion people worldwide and kills a million -- mainly under age five -- every year, the vast majority in sub-Saharan Africa.