Category Archives: Hygiene Promotion

WHO Trachoma Fact sheet, April 2017

WHO Trachoma Fact sheet, April 2017.

Key facts

  • Trachoma is a disease of the eye caused by infection with the bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis.
  • It is known to be a public health problem in 42 countries, and is responsible for the blindness or visual impairment of about 1.9 million people. Nearly 182 million people live in trachoma endemic areas and are at risk of trachoma blindness.
  • Blindness from trachoma is irreversible.
  • Infection spreads through personal contact (via hands, clothes or bedding) and by flies that have been in contact with discharge from the eyes or nose of an infected person. With repeated episodes of infection over many years, the eyelashes may be drawn in so that they rub on the surface of the eye, with pain and discomfort and permanent damage to the cornea.
  • The World Health Assembly adopted resolution WHA51.11 in 1998, targeting the global elimination of trachoma as a public health problem.
  • The elimination strategy is encapsulated by the acronym “SAFE”: Surgery for advanced disease, Antibiotics to clear C. trachomatis infection, Facial cleanliness and Environmental improvement to reduce transmission.
  • In 2016, more than 260 000 people received surgical treatment for advanced trachoma, and 86 million people were treated with antibiotics. Global-level antibiotic coverage was 47%, a considerable increase compared to the 29% coverage achieved in 2015.

12th SuSanA Thematic Discussion: “Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) in Schools – A neglected issue”

While nowadays the topic of MHM is gaining more and more attention, it has widely been neglected in the past. SDG4 (education), SDG5 (gender equality) and SDG6 (water and sanitation) require female friendly sanitation facilities and available informational materials at schools around the globe.

Taking into account the magnitude of the population affected by issues around MHM, schools provide an ideal environment to reach girls as well as young women and to address taboos and misconceptions in a culturally sensitive manner.

The question, however, is how to approach the topic in a culturally sensitive manner?

Running for two weeks from today (March 27 until April 09) the discussion on the SuSanA forum will look at two areas:

Week 1: Breaking the taboo around MHM                                           Thematic Lead: Dr. Marni Sommer (Associate Professor, Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health)

 Week 2: Infrastructural barriers and how to monitor MHM            Thematic Lead: Thérèse Mahon (Regional Programme Manager South Asia, WaterAid)

During the discussion, regular summaries of forum entries will be posted to keep you updated on our conversation.

Coordination on behalf of the SuSanA secretariat for this thematic discussion will be carried out by Dr. Bella Monse, Jan Schlenk and Mintje Büürma. For any questions, you can post on the forum or contact us directly at info@susana.org.

To join the discussion, follow: http://bit.ly/2nZn4n6

And to read the first contribution by Marni Sommer, click on: http://bit.ly/2n9JLkv

Recently published handwashing studies

1 – Trop Med Int Health. 2017 Feb 28. doi: 10.1111/tmi.12861. [Epub ahead of print]

Does targeting children with hygiene promotion messages work? The effect of handwashing promotion targeted at children, on diarrhoea, soil-transmitted helminth infections and behaviour change, in low- and middle-income countries.

OBJECTIVES: To synthesise evidence on the effect of handwashing promotion interventions targeting children, on diarrhoea, soil-transmitted helminth infection and handwashing behaviour, in low and middle income country settings.

RESULTS: Eight studies were included in this review: seven cluster-randomised controlled trials and one cluster non-randomised controlled trial. All eight studies targeted children aged 5-12 attending primary school but were heterogeneous for both the type of intervention and the reported outcomes so results were synthesised qualitatively. None of the studies were of high quality and the large majority were at high risk of bias. The reported effect of child-targeted handwashing interventions on our outcomes of interest varied between studies. Of the different interventions reported, no one approach to promoting handwashing among children appeared most effective.

CONCLUSION: Our review found very few studies that evaluated handwashing interventions targeting children and all had various methodological limitations. It is plausible that interventions which succeed in changing children’s handwashing practices will lead to significant health impacts given that much of the attributable disease burden is concentrated in that age group. The current paucity of evidence in this area however does not permit any recommendations to be made as to the most effective route to increasing handwashing with soap practice among children in LMIC. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

2 – Am J Infect Control. 2017 Feb 24. pii: S0196-6553(17)30041-X. doi: 10.1016/j.ajic.2017.01.018. [Epub ahead of print]

The effect of hand-hygiene interventions on infectious disease-associated absenteeism in elementary schools: A systematic literature review.

BACKGROUND: Hand-hygiene interventions are widely used in schools but their effect on reducing absenteeism is not well known.

RESULTS: Our review indicated evidence is available to show hand-hygiene interventions had an effect on reducing acute gastrointestinal illness-associated absenteeism but inadequate evidence is available to show an effect on respiratory illness-associated absenteeism.

CONCLUSIONS: The methodologic quality assessment of eligible studies revealed common design flaws, such as lack of randomization, blinding, and attrition, which must be addressed in future studies to strengthen the evidence base on the effect of hand-hygiene interventions on school absenteeism.

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Changing behaviours: there is no quick fix!

Experts come up with better ways to promote sanitation in India.

india-school-toilets

School toilets, West Bengal, India, Photo: Stef Smits/India

India is home to the largest numbers of open defecators in the world. Over the last few decades the government has implemented national programmes, which attempted to address this complex challenge. The demand for sanitation, meaning a genuine demand for toilets and actual use, hasn’t been encouraging. In October 2014, the government launched the Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM), a national programme to eliminate open defecation by 2019. SBM has a rural (gramin) and an urban subcomponent.

Dialogue on behaviour change communication

On 23 September 2016, experts met in New Delhi to discuss how behaviour change communication (BCC) can best help to achieve India’s sanitation goals. They were invited by the India Sanitation Coalition, TARU and IRC to take part in “Insights: WASH Dialogues on Sanitation Promotion and Behavioural Science“.

When we set out to improve life for others without a fundamental understanding of their point of view and quality of experience, we do more harm than good (Lauren Reichelt, 2011)

Sector experts and experts involved in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives in sanitation, argued that it is crucial not just to look at how behaviour change interventions work, but also to understand what doesn’t work. There is general agreement that “soft interventions” are important at the community level to ensure that toilets are not just built but also used. Despite all the investments in sanitation over the years, little has been achieved in sanitation. There seems to be a gap between the planning of behaviour change communication interventions and how they are actually implemented.

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The Role of WASH in Healthcare Settings to Reduce Transmission of Antimicrobial Resistance

The Role of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) in Healthcare Settings to Reduce Transmission of Antimicrobial Resistance. Antimicrobial Resistance Control, July 2016.

This article by USAID’s Rochelle Rainey and Merri Weinger concludes that antimicrobial resistance is a multisectoral problem that requires a comprehensive strategy, including WASH improvements, to prevent emergence and transmission.

The lack of safe water, functional toilets, and handwashing facilities in healthcare settings poses significant health risks to patients, healthcare workers and nearby communities. The ongoing global problem of health facility-acquired infections (HAI) has highlighted the consequences of the lack of water and sanitation facilities and practice of key hygiene behaviours.

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a multisectoral problem that requires a comprehensive strategy, including WASH improvements, to prevent emergence and transmission. Hand hygiene has been cited as the single most important practice to reduce HAI, and improved hand hygiene practices have been associated with a sustained decrease in the incidence of antimicrobial-resistant infections in healthcare settings.

WASH also plays a role in the cleaning of surfaces and bedding for preventing transmission of HAI. Leadership and commitment is needed from governments, international and local organizations, donors and civil society to implement the global action plan to achieve universal access to WASH in healthcare facilities.

UNESCO funds Dunedin shadow puppet film in Indonesia about hygiene

Published on Jan 16, 2017
UNESCO along with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade are financially backing a trans-Tasman project to improve hygiene in Indonesia.

An educational film is being made in Dunedin featuring Javanese shadow puppets who tell the tale of evil bacteria.

Today some top musicians began adding the soundtrack.

 

Investigation of Rice as an Absorbent and Degradable Material for Personal Hygiene Applications

Investigation of Rice as an Absorbent and Degradable Material for Personal Hygiene Applications. SM Journal of Engineering Sciences, January 2016.

Authors: Jeffrey S Bates, Megan A Adams and Taylor D Sparks

This research explores the uses of natural materials in personal hygiene applications. In order to maximize the use of materials for personal hygiene, they must be absorbent, but should also be biodegradable to minimize their impact on the environment. Rice was prepared for testing by increase the porosity.

The material was ground into three size distributions and tested to determine its ability to absorb moisture under both ambient and body temperatures. Research goals address the percentage of moisture absorbed by weight, the absorption as a function of temperature, and the optimal particle size required for the selected application.

Results indicate that the amount of moisture absorbed by the material increases as the temperature approaches body temperature. Furthermore, the time required for the material to reach equilibrium, as also defined by the amount at which the material will no longer absorb moisture, varies by particle size.