Hand Washing with Soap and Hygiene Promotion

Resources on hand washing with soap for hygiene promotion efforts.

ArticleBackground on the Importance of Hand Washing with Soap

Diarrhea and respiratory infection are two of the top three causes of child mortality worldwide. According to UNICEF, together they cause 67% of the four million deaths among children under age five. Hand washing with soap, when done properly and at critical times, is an effective way to prevent diarrheal diseases and respiratory infection. Although a large part of the world’s population wash their hands with water, only a small percentage use soap, and/or wash at the critical times to interrupt disease transmission. Hand washing is a high-impact, low-cost intervention with broad potential for application worldwide, either as a stand-alone program (such as through the Public Partnership for Hand Washing with Soap http://www.globalhandwashing.org) or as a component of an integrated health program. Hand washing promotion is cost-effective when compared with other frequently funded health interventions. It can also maximize the health benefits of investments in water supply and sanitation infrastructure and reduce health risks when families do not have access to basic sanitation and water supply services.

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FileTop Ten Handwashing TIPs

"Top Ten" Handwashing Behavior Change Tips from the Hygiene Improvement Project

Top Ten HW Tips.pdf  (59.5 kB)

FileHand Washing Reduces Mortality Risk in Newborns. HIP Note to the Field. Sept. 2008

Summarizes a recent study in Nepal that examined the relationship between hand washing practices and neonatal deaths. Demonstrated the reduction in neonatal mortality from hand washing with soap by the birth attendant prior to delivery (19%) and hand washing by mothers before handling newborns (44%) compared with those who did not wash hands. Among newborns exposed to both birth attendant and maternal hand washing, the risk of death was 41% lower.

Hand washing reduces newborn mortality Sept. 08.pdf  (27.5 kB)

FileTippy-Tap: A simple low-cost technology for handwashing when water is scarce

Studies have shown that proper handwashing with soap or ash can reduce the incidence of diarrhoeal disease by 42-47 percent. However, lack of access to both piped water supply and soap, is a barrier to hand washing. “Tippy Taps” are simple and economical handwashing stations, made with commonly available materials and not dependent on a piped water supply. This publication describes how to construct and maintain a Tippy Tap.

ENG_TippyTap_wr.pdf  (168.5 kB)

ArticleOnline Resources

Below are resources on the topic of hand washing with soap and hygiene promotion.

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Web LinkResouces for Diarrheal Disease Control

Hygiene, hand-washing, and clean water.

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Web LinkHand Washing: A Simple Way to Prevent Infection

From the Mayo Clinic, information on the benefits of good hand hygiene, as well as when to wash hands and how to clean them properly.

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Web LinkHygiene Central

Publications and articles from the London School of Hygiene and Sanitation, including references on hand washing.

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Web LinkPublic Private Partnership for Handwashing with Soap (PPPHW)

Information on the global activities of this public-private partnership. Also includes literature reviews and publications on the topic of handwashing with soap.

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Web LinkPPPHW Handwashing Handbook (English version)

French and Spanish versions are also available at PPPWW website.

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Web LinkWELL Factsheet on Health Impact of Washing with Soap

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