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, Design, nudges and cues, Handwashing, Health, Hygiene, Monitoring, evaluation and learning, Sanitation and health impacts, Social norms

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