Cambodia: hand washing a low priority in rural areas, ARDA study says

Only one in four rural Cambodians practice appropriate hand washing regardless of access to clean water and hygiene knowledge, according to a recent study presented by the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) at the World Federation of Public Health Associations/American Public Health Association (WFPHA/APHA) Annual International Health Breakfast held in San Diego, California.

Dr. Leonard Uisetiawan, provincial projects advisor for the ADRA office in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, who presented the study [said] that less than 26 percent of rural Cambodians use good hand washing techniques regardless of access to clean water and hygiene knowledge. In addition, less than 6 percent of child caretakers properly washed their hands after changing a child’s soiled diaper or after defecation.

This research, funded by Colgate-Palmolive through the American Public Health Association, also highlighted that the practice of hand washing in Cambodian homes is not dependent on the availability of soap, water, buckets, accessibility to hand washing areas, household size, amount of children, mother’s vocation, or educational level.

[…] The Hand Washing Research Project has been conducted over the past year as part of “Phum Mittapheap Koma”, a three-year initiative aimed at improving rural health and reducing morbidity and mortality among more than 22,500 women and 17,400 children in the Kampong Thom province.

View a presentation of the Cambodian study here

See also two other related presentations by Colgate Palmolive Research grant recipients:

  • R. Courtney Cawthon: Hand Washing Education in Quezalguaque, Nicaragua;
  • Tova Reichel: Using the Child-to-Child Approach in Promoting Positive Hygiene Behaviors among Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC) in Rural Western Kenya 
  • Source: Satha Sin, Nadia McGill and Hearly Mayr, ARDA, 31 Dec 2008 ; WFPHA Monthly E-newsletter, Nov 2008


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