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Provision versus promotion to develop a handwashing station: the effect on desired handwashing behavior

Provision versus promotion to develop a handwashing station: the effect on desired handwashing behavior

Bmc Public Health 17(1): 390

Diarrhea prevalence increases from around the time that complementary foods are introduced. Improving caregiver's hand hygiene during food preparation could reduce complementary food contamination and enteric pathogen transmission. Washing hands with soap is more common when water and soap are together at a convenient location. We conducted a three-month pilot intervention to evaluate two options for setting up handwashing stations: i) provide a handwashing station, or ii) help the family to make their own from available materials. Additionally, we assessed the feasibility of this intervention to be integrated with a child feeding program. We conducted the intervention among two groups; 40 households received a free of cost handwashing station and another 40 households were motivated to place their own soap/soapy-water and water vessel near the food preparation and child feeding area. Community health workers encouraged caregivers to wash hands with soap/soapy-water before food preparation and feeding a child. They either assisted study participants to install the study-provided handwashing station at the recommended place or encouraged caregivers to develop their own. Field researchers assessed placement and composition of handwashing stations and the feasibility of integrating handwashing and nutrition messages. By end of the trial, 39/40 households developed their own handwashing station, comprising a bucket, mug and bar soap/soapy-water of which 60% (6/10) households were observed with a functional and complete handwashing station set. Observed handwashing with soap was detected among 8/10 households from the study-provided handwashing station group and 5/10 among households who had made their own handwashing station. Sixty-seven of the 76 caregivers recalled integrated intervention messages on social and health benefits of infant and young child feeding correctly; and all recalled key handwashing with soap times, before food preparation and feeding a child. Encouraging households to develop their own handwashing station with soap and water to place at a food preparation/child feeding location is feasible over the short term. In the absence of large-scale provision of handwashing stations, caregivers can be encouraged to create and use their own. Integrating handwashing with soap into a nutrition intervention was feasible and acceptable and should be considered by policy makers.

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Accession: 060149100

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

PMID: 28476170

DOI: 10.1186/s12889-017-4316-6

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