Handwashing promotion targeted at children, on diarrhea, soil-transmitted helminth infections and behavior change, in low- and middle-income countries: effects are uncertain

Added April 15, 2020

Citation: Watson J, Ensink J, Ramos M, et al. Does targeting children with hygiene promotion messages work? The effect of handwashing promotion targeted at children, on diarrhea, soil-transmitted helminth infections and behavior change, in low- and middle-income countries. Tropical Medicine and International Health 2017; 22(5): 526-38

What is this? Physical interventions, such as handwashing, should interrupt or reduce the transmission of COVID-19. Existing research into handwashing to prevent diarrhea and soil-transmitted helminth (STH) infections in childhood may provide useful information for helping to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

In this systematic review, the authors searched for research from a low- or middle-income country that tested the effects of a hygiene promotion intervention (which included messages around handwashing) and targeted children. They restricted their search to studies published in peer-reviewed, English language journals and did their searches in July 2016. They included 7 cluster randomized trials and 1 cluster non-randomised trial. These were done in China (2 studies), Egypt (1), India (1), Kenya (2), Malaysia (1) and Peru (1), and had targeted children aged 5 to 12 years.

What works: Nothing noted.

What doesn’t work: Nothing noted.

What’s uncertain:  Although hygiene-related knowledge increased in studies that focused on STH prevention and transmission, the lack of evidence in this topic areas means that the effects of handwashing promotion interventions on children’s handwashing behaviour, diarrhea, and STH are uncertain.


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