Last updated: 12 Jun 2018
WHAT ARE HYGIENE INTERVENTIONS?
Hygiene interventions initiate or promote further practice of handwashing with soap or other agents after defecation, after disposal of child faeces, and prior to preparing, eating and handling food. This includes interventions to promote changes in hygiene (group discussions, media campaigns, leaflets, songs, dramas, school initiatives), and interventions providing soap or other agents to improve hygiene and/or equipment to facilitate handwashing (e.g. handwashing stations, ‘Tippy Taps’).
WHY ARE HANDWASHING WITH SOAP INTERVENTIONS EFFECTIVE?
Although people wash their hands with water, very few wash their hands with soap at critical moments (for example, after using the toilet, while cleaning a child, and before handling food). However, washing hands with water alone is significantly less effective than washing hands with soap in terms of removing germs.
Handwashing with soap is among the most effective and inexpensive ways to prevent diarrheal diseases and pneumonia, which together are responsible for the majority of child deaths.
Furthermore, handwashing with soap is a life-saving intervention within the technological and financial reach of all countries and communities. Research shows that a $3.35 investment in handwashing brings the same health benefits as an $11.00 investment in latrine construction, a $200.00 investment in household water supply and an investment of thousands of dollars in immunization.