What Have We Learned About Promoting Hand Hygiene During The COVID-19 Pandemic?

October 2020

The brief is focused on hand hygiene. We have long understood the importance of hand hygiene for the reduction of diarrhoeal diseases, respiratory infections, hospital-acquired infections, and during outbreaks like cholera and Ebola.

Hand washing with soap or alcohol-based hand rub is an effective COVID-19 prevention measure, along with physical distancing and appropriate mask use. Despite the many benefits of hand hygiene, actual practice remains low globally. The COVID-19 pandemic has already led to short-term improvements in hygiene behaviour but it is now critical to translate these improvements into longer-term handwashing habits and policy change so that the immediate threat of COVID-19 is addressed and progress can be made to reduce the burden of other faecal-oral diseases.

This brief present 10 key lessons gleaned from global COVID-19 response programming. The authors also include 10 actions to improve long-term handwashing behaviour and hygiene programming. These insights emerged from hundreds of informal conversations that the COVID-19 Hygiene Hub have had with programme implementers across 60 countries between April and October 2020.

Additional details

PublisherLondon School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
ThemesBehaviour change, Campaigns, COVID-19, Design, nudges and cues, Handwashing, Health, Hygiene, Monitoring, evaluation and learning, Sanitation and health impacts, Social norms

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