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.