Tag Archives: handwashing

15 October was Global Handwashing Day: take the quiz!


Photo: IRC

Are you a Handwashing Champion?

Each year on 15 October, over 200 million people in over 100 countries celebrate Global Handwashing Day. Their aim is to increase awareness and understanding about the importance of handwashing with soap. This simple intervention is an effective and affordable way to prevent diseases and save lives. Promoting handwashing with soap reduces the risk of diarrhoea by at least 23% according to a 2014 systematic review of research. Handwashing with soap impacts more than just health: it is also beneficial for nutrition, education, economics, and equity.

Global Handwashing Day was founded by the Global Public-Private Partnership for Handwashing, and is an opportunity to design, test, and replicate creative ways to encourage people to wash their hands with soap at critical times. This year’s theme is “Make Handwashing a Habit!” For handwashing to be effective it must be practised consistently at key times, such as after using the toilet or before contact with food. While habits must be developed over time, this theme emphasises the importance of handwashing as a ritual behaviour for long-term sustainability.

IRC is proud to be an affiliate member of the Global Public-Private Partnership for Handwashing. Especially for Global Handwashing Day we created a fun quiz so that you can not only test your knowledge but also learn a bit about what we are doing to promote handwashing.

Don’t forget to visit the Global Handwashing Day website for resources and updates on  global handwashing promotion. For the latest research and developments, also check out the handwashing posts on Sanitation Updates.

Now take the quiz to see if you are a Handwashing Champion!

This blog was originally posted on the IRC website.


USAID – Celebrate Global Handwashing Day 2016!

USAID – Celebrate Global Handwashing Day 2016!

On Global Handwashing Day, we join partners around the world to celebrate the importance of handwashing with soap as an effective and affordable way to prevent diseases and save lives. Handwashing is an important part of the U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID’s) efforts to end preventable child and maternal deaths. ghd2016

Although many people around the world clean their hands with water, the use of soap is also necessary to prevent disease more effectively.

  • Millions of children under the age of 5 years die from diarrheal diseases and pneumonia. Handwashing with soap could prevent about 1 out of every 3 episodes of diarrheal illnesses and almost 1 out of 6 episodes of respiratory infections like pneumonia.
  • Handwashing with soap is also a key component of clean and safe birthing practices, which could save up to 40 percent of the 2.8 million infants that die during their first month of life.

USAID’s life-saving water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) programs and other development activities promote adoption of handwashing and other hygiene practices as an important element of improved health and nutrition programs.

Learn more

Photo credit: USAID

Handwashing/hygiene research by the SHARE Project

Below are links to selected studies, videos, etc. by the SHARE project. share_logo_main_strap_rgb

Hygiene Promotion Resource: Choose Soap – The RIU Summary provides an overview of the objectives and intended RIU impact of the SHARE-commissioned Choose Soap toolkit.

Complementary Food Hygiene – An Overlooked Opportunity in the WASH, Nutrition and Health Sectors – This policy brief highlights the often overlooked opportunity that addressing complementary food hygiene offers the WASH, nutrition and health sectors for improving health outcomes.

The Impact of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene on Key Health and Social Outcomes: Review of Evidence – This evidence paper developed by SHARE and UNICEF looks at 10 areas identified collaboratively on which WASH can plausibly have a strong impact: diarrhoea, nutrition, complementary food hygiene, female psychosocial stress, violence, maternal and newborn health, menstrual hygiene management, school attendance, oral vaccine performance, and neglected tropical diseases.

Hygiene Intervention Reduces Contamination of Weaning Food in Bangladesh – This journal paper summarises the findings of a small, SHARE-funded intervention study that sought to reduce the contamination of weaning foods in Bangladesh by using the HACCP approach.

Focus on Handwashing in Emergency Settings – This event report summarises the proceedings of the ‘Focus on Handwashing in Emergency Settings’ event held at LSHTM on 19th December 2012.

Handwashing With Soap Guidelines – This four-page guidance note, produced by SHARE and LSHTM, explains the benefits of handwashing with soap, highlights when it has the most significant public health impact, and provides tips on how to encourage the practice.

Estimating the Potential Impact of Sanitary Child Stool Disposal – This policy brief highlights the often overlooked and enormous potential of hygienic child stool disposal to considerably reduce the prevalence of diarrhoeal diseases.

Effect of a Behaviour Change Intervention on Handwashing with Soap in India (SuperAmma): A Cluster Randomised Trial – This paper summarises the findings of a cluster randomised trial that tested whether a scalable village-level intervention based on emotional drivers of behaviour, rather than knowledge, could improve handwashing behaviour in rural India.

What Drives Handwashing Behaviour? – In this video, Dr Valerie Curtis, Director of the Hygiene Centre at LSHTM, discusses what drives us to wash our hands with soap.

Handwashing in the news

Oct 13 – Hilton Launches Major Expansion of Industry’s Largest Soap Recycling Program to Help Communities in Need – -Hilton announced that all 750 properties across its All Suites brands will recycle discarded soap and amenity bottles and donate them to reduce hygiene-related illnesses for communities in need

Oct 12 – Students can Become ‘Hand Washing Champions’ in Celebration of Global Handwashing Day on October 15th – Each year on October 15th, over 200 million people in over 100 countries take part in celebrations to mark Global Handwashing Day. Once again, Deb Group is heavily involved in this day of advocacy.

Oct 11 – Dettol aims to educate millions across 19 countries on Global Handwashing Day  – As a part of the Global Handwashing Day celebrations, Dettol has launched a global campaign which aims to reach out to millions of people across 19 countries and educate them about importance of handwashing.

Oct 10 – WaterAid: Global Handwashing Day – It’s time to talk about the world’s simplest life-saver.

Oct 7 – Habits matter for Global Handwashing Day. This is why you should promote them! – Celebrated annually on October 15, Global Handwashing Day is a global advocacy day dedicated to increasing awareness and understanding about the importance of handwashing with soap as an easy, effective, and affordable way to prevent diseases and save lives. This year’s theme is “Make Handwashing a Habit!”. In light of this theme, I would like to take this opportunity to discuss how promoting habits as part of your celebration might lead to the development of sustained handwashing behavior.

Recently published studies on handwashing

Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2016 Oct 3. pii: 16-0420. Chlorination of Household Drinking Water among Cholera Patients’ Households to Prevent Transmission of Toxigenic Vibrio cholerae in Dhaka City: CHoBI7 Trial.

Authors: Rashid MU, George CM, et. al.

Household members of cholera patients are at a 100 times higher risk of cholera infections than the general population because of shared contaminated drinking water sources and secondary transmission through poor household hygiene practices. In this study, we investigated the bactericidal concentration of free chlorine required to inactivate Vibrio cholerae in household drinking water in Dhaka city. Findings suggest that point-of-use chlorine tablets present an effective approach to inactivate V. cholerae from drinking water in households of cholera patients in Dhaka city.

Matern Child Nutr. 2016 Oct;12 (4):869-84. Handwashing, sanitation and family planning practices are the strongest underlying determinants of child stunting in rural indigenous communities of Jharkhand and Odisha, Eastern India: a cross-sectional study.

Authors: Saxton J, Rath S, et. al.

We sought to identify the strongest determinants of stunting among indigenous children in rural Jharkhand and Odisha, India, to highlight key areas for intervention. In the adjusted model, the strongest protective factors for linear growth included cooking outdoors rather than indoors, birth spacing ≥24 months, and handwashing with a cleansing agent (HAZ +0.32).

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2016 Sep 1;13(9). Exploring Determinants of Handwashing with Soap in Indonesia: A Quantitative Analysis.

Authors: Hirai M, Graham JP, et. al.

This study analyzes rural Indonesian households’ hygiene behaviors and attitudes to examine how motivations for handwashing, locations of handwashing space in the household, and handwashing moments are associated with handwashing with soap as potential determinants of the behavior. Our results showed that determinants that had a significant association with handwashing with soap included: (1) a desire to smell nice; (2) interpersonal influences; (3) the presence of handwashing places within 10 paces of the kitchen and the toilet; and (4) key handwashing moments when hands felt dirty, including after eating and after cleaning child stools. This study concludes that handwashing with soap may be more effectively promoted through the use of non-health messages.

January – June 2016 Handwashing Research Summary – Between January and June 2016, 32 relevant peer-reviewed studies on handwashing were identified. Learn about key findings during this time period .

Authors: PPPHW

Recent WASH related research

Exploring Determinants of Handwashing with Soap in Indonesia: A Quantitative AnalysisInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health , September 2016. This study analyzes rural Indonesian households’ hygiene behaviors and attitudes to examine how motivations for handwashing, locations of handwashing space in the household, and handwashing moments are potential determinants of handwashing behavior.

Behaviour Centered Design (BCD): Towards an Applied Science of Behaviour ChangeHealth Psychology Review , August 2016. This paper positions BCD as the foundation of an applied science of behavior change and outlines a sequence of five steps required to design an intervention to change specific behaviors. The BCD approach has been shown to change hygiene, nutrition, and exercise-related behaviors and has the advantages of being applicable to product, service, or institutional design.

The Water Report 2016. Stockholm International Water Institute , August 2016. Published prior to World Water Week, this annual report was meant to inspire discussions at the meeting and bring topical issues to the fore. None is more prominent this year than the issue of migration and its link to water issues. Other topics covered include the 2030 Agenda and sustainable growth.

Asian Water Development Outlook (AWDO) 2016: Strengthening Water Security in Asia and the PacificAsian Development Bank (ADB) , September 2016. The result of rigorous analysis, AWDO 2016 provides a snapshot of the region’s water security status, enabling policymakers, financing institutions, and planners to make informed decisions on how to improve their performance in the water sector. The six-part report describes the water challenges the region is facing, presents the AWDO approach, and provides information on how water security can be increased.

Water and Sanitation Interlinkages Across the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable DevelopmentUnited Nations , August 2016. This brief analyzes the central role of water and sanitation and describes the interlinkages between the targets of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6 and those of other goals. The document emphasizes the mutually reinforcing nature of the interlinkages and the necessity for an integrated implementation approach, and also highlights the importance of mainstreaming water and sanitation in the policies and plans of other sectors.

Measuring Domestic Water Use: A Systematic Review of Methodologies that Measure Unmetered Water Use in Low-Income SettingsTropical Medicine and International Health , August 2016. More than 20 studies were included in this literature review of methods for measuring domestic water use in settings where water meters cannot be used. The review found no standardized methods for measuring unmetered water use and recommended that further research begin with pre-study observations during water collection periods to determine optimal methods for obtaining water use information in a survey.

Herd Protection from Drinking Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene InterventionsAmerican Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene , September 2016. Although cluster-randomized trials of WASH interventions have reported the total or overall efficacy of WASH interventions, they have not quantified the role of herd protection. Through a literature review and modeling, researchers have established that WASH interventions are likely to provide some level of herd protection.

Enteric Pathogens and Factors Associated with Acute Bloody Diarrhoea, KenyaBMC Infectious Diseases , September 2016. This study found that good personal hygiene practices such as washing hands after defecation and storing drinking water separate from water for other uses were key protective factors, while presence of coliform in the main water source was found to be a risk factor for bloody diarrhea. Implementation of WASH interventions is therefore key to prevention and control.

Sundara Fund: Attacking Hygiene Inequality Through Innovative Hand-Washing

Sundara Fund: Attacking Hygiene Inequality Through Innovative Hand-Washing | Source: Browngirl Magazine, July 8 2016 |


[Photo Courtesy of Sundara Fund]

The impetus for launching Sundara was born back in 2013 when founder Erin Zaikis was working with organizations and schools fighting child trafficking in rural northern Thailand, on the border of Myanmar. During one school visit, she watched as teenage children entered and left the restroom without washing their hands.

Making the several-hour trek to the closest store that sold soap, she bought roughly 150 bars costing $30. “Cigarettes were much more expensive, but cigarettes were bought by almost everyone in the community…The problem did not lie in the cost of soap, but rather the education,” Zaikis says.

While conducting an impromptu hand-washing workshop at a school one day, she “watched in horror” as one child tried to bite the soap, some scratching it with their nails, and yet others smacking their faces with it—unsure of what to do.

Zaikis says, “Here I was, meeting children who had lived their whole lives without something I took for granted every single day of mine. Reeling from the inequality of this situation and feeling like no one else was putting attention on it, I decided I had to help.”

Read the complete article.