RESEARCH: Global Handwashing Partnership releases annual Hand Hygiene Summary

Global Handwashing Partnership for the past 10 years has collated the latest hand hygiene research through an annual research summary.

They have just released their latest summary, revealing important data about the link between health and handwashing. These reports provide the latest research, key findings, and guidance on hand hygiene best practices.

Hand hygiene has been promoted as an effective preventive measure against various health-related issues, including diarrheal diseases, undernutrition, neglected tropical diseases and COVID-19.

The summary shares two case controlled studies in Ethiopia which reveal just how effective it is:

  • Study 1 – In a case-control study conducted in the Kersa and Omo Nada districts of Ethiopia, handwashing at critical times was assessed through information about mothers/caregivers’ handwashing behaviour after defecation, before handling food/water, before feeding a child, or after cleaning the child’s stool…..

Mothers who did not practice handwashing at critical times were 2.58 times more likely to have a child experiencing malnutrition than those who washed their hands regularly (Soboksa et al., 2021).

  • Study 2 – One community-based and controlled trial in Dire Dawa, Ethiopia examined handwashing impact on diarrheal incidence in children under 5. Intervention households were given two bars of plain soap and handwashing promotion materials and control households continued existing handwashing practices with no additional information…

A 41% reduction in diarrheal incidence was recorded for the intervention group in relation to the control, indicating that even this level of handwashing promotion is an effective means of reducing childhood diarrhea (Solomon et. al., 2021).


A Quick Glance at Project Data for Handwashing in Australia:

National data collected from projects over the past 20 years at SurveyFix 1 tell us:

  • 11% of houses had no hand basin
  • Only 74% of houses had a functional hot water tap at a basin, and
  • Only 77% of houses had a functional cold water tap
  • Only 86% of houses had a functional drainage from the basin

By the end of each project, the target is to bring the function level of each house up to 100% to ensure optimal health. This means working hot and cold basin taps with drainage that removes and treats sewage safely.

This report is a great reminder of the importance of not only hand washing, but also of the importance of a house to have the ability for people to carry out such important hygiene practices, especially for children.