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APHA Scientific Session and Event Listing

Motivating handwashing behavior change: A multi country review

Lene Jensen, MA, The Water and Sanitation Program, 1818 H Street, NW, Washington, DC 20009, 202-473-2554, LJensen@worldbank.org

Scientific evidence points to handwashing with soap as one of the most effective means of reducing diarrheal disease. A review of research by Curtis and Cairncross (2003) concludes that handwashing with soap can reduce diarrheal infections by 42-47 percent. In 2001, the global Public-Private Partnership to Promote Handwashing with Soap (PPPHW) was established with the objective of advocating for and supporting the implementation of large-scale handwashing initiatives in developing countries. To date initiatives have been implemented or are under preparation in more than ten developing countries. The approach to handwashing promotion adopted by these initiatives differs significantly from the approach of earlier hygiene education interventions, which often have tended to focus solely on health concerns in their messages. However, health concerns are often not the only or even the most important driver of behavior change. With this knowledge in mind, the new handwashing initiatives carry out detailed consumer research to identify the barriers, drivers, and motivators of handwashing with soap in the specific social and cultural context. The findings from the consumer research are subsequently used to inform the design and implementation of a handwashing campaign. This study reviews and compares the findings of the consumer research studies that have been carried out in the various countries to date, looks at how the findings have been translated into handwashing campaign messages and materials, and to what effect.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the session, the participant (learner) in this session will be able to

Related Web page: www.globalhandwashing.org

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Any relevant financial relationships? No

Water and the Environment: Affecting Health Across Borders

The 134th Annual Meeting & Exposition (November 4-8, 2006) of APHA