Handwashing and sanitation behaviour change in low‐ and middle‐income countries

Added April 17, 2020

Citation: De Buck E, Van Remoortel H, Hannes K, et al. Approaches to promote handwashing and sanitation behaviour change in low‐ and middle‐income countries: a mixed method systematic review. Campbell Systematic Reviews 2017: 7

What is this: Physical interventions, such as hand washing, should interrupt or reduce the spread of COVID-19. Evidence on ways to promote hand washing is important for planning and implementing these strategies,

In this Campbell Systematic Review, the authors examined the effects of different approaches for promoting handwashing and sanitation behaviour change, and factors affecting implementation, in low- and middle‐income countries. They did not restrict by type or language of publication and did their search in March 2016. They included 42 impact evaluations and 28 qualitative studies.

What was found: Community-based approaches show the most consistent impact on improving hand washing behaviour but may be inconsistent with social distancing.

Sanitation and hygiene messaging which may be communicated through TV, radio, traditional media and social media, or via training sessions in the community or in schools, can increase hand washing with soap, although the effect does not seem to be sustained.

Messaging which focuses on the importance of hand washing and how to wash hands should be widely adopted.

Short messages, training materials, kindness, respect, recipient awareness about costs and benefits and their access to infrastructure and social capital improve effectiveness.

What’s uncertain: The longer term effects and sustainability once the messaging programs are stopped are uncertain.


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