Handwashing before Food Preparation and Child Feeding

October 21, 2013 by WASHplus

Handwashing before Food Preparation and Child Feeding: A Missed Opportunity for Hygiene Promotion. Am Jnl Trop Med Hyg, Sept 2013.

Nizame FA, Unicomb L, Sanghvi T, Roy S, Nuruzzaman M, Ghosh PK, Winch PJ, Luby SP. International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh, Dhaka, Bangladesh; Alive and Thrive, Dhaka, Bangladesh; Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland.

Abstract – Enteric diseases are often caused by poor hygiene and can contribute to stunting. From 50 randomly selected villages in Bangladesh, we collected quantitative and qualitative data on handwashing linked to child feeding to integrate handwashing promotion into a young child complementary feeding program. Most participants stated that the community knew the importance of handwashing with soap before food preparation and feeding a child, but had not developed the habit. We observed no handwashing with soap at these key times; sometimes hands were rinsed with water only.

Most participants cited the unavailability of soap and water near the cooking place as a barrier to handwashing before food preparation. Most caregivers ranked nurturing messages as the best motivator to encourage handwashing with soap. An integrated intervention should include having soap and water available near the food preparation area and should use nurturing themes to encourage habitual handwashing with soap.