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What are the best interventions for changing behaviour related to handwashing?

related country: Yemen

We have conducted a barrier analysis and found that (perhaps unsurprisingly) soap availability (mostly due to the cost), having a suitable location to wash hands and being able to remember, as being the most important determinants for hand washing with soap. We are looking for some concrete experiences to draw from when developing interventions to increase hand washing with soap at the 5 critical times. Thanks in advance.


Interventions to improve on hand washing practice can not be a one size fits all. For example to encourage hand washing after defecation will be to have the materials accessible at hand in side the toilet facility. I suggest a plastic bottled filled with soap water within reach, to help you remember, before you go out of the toilet. For other instances, a household should have a beautiful hand washing station to remind us to wash the hands at all times. A good looking hand washing station should be the pride of the family. Just like an improved toilet facility.

Baffa Buhari gravatar imageBaffa Buhari ( 2019-03-25 14:39:38 )

1 Answer


Why just soap ?? In many rural communities the soap is substituted effectively with ash, sand, lemon / lime, etc etc ... a number of which are supported by WHO as they also have limited disnfecting prperties and are readily available.

As in an earlier post on KnowledgePoint I can recommend "Hygiene Education Policy Guidelines for Afghanistan" prepared by Ministry of Health and ACBAR Hygiene Education Working Group in collaboration with Water & Sanitation Sector Group for Afghanistan March 2001 (including Save the Children, WHO, UNICEF... et al). This has a good track record of proven practical use and can be readily adapted.

As example its chapters include ...

Part 1 Guidelines for Programmes 1.) Introduction 2.) Basic Essential messages 3.) Hygiene Education Strategy 4.) Channels for Hygiene Education 5.) Monitoring and Evaluation

Part 2 Information for the Design of Hygiene Education 6.) Ideas on Good Communication Models 7.) The Source of Intestinal Infections 8.) Good Hygeinic Practices: The Evidence 9.) resources on Hygiene Education.

You might also refer to "The Johns Hopkins and Red Cross / Red Crescent PUBLIC HEALTH GUIDE FOR EMERGENCIES" avaiable also on CD ROM, Chapter 5 "Environmental Health"