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Hygiene issues and hand washing : How are different organizations looking at this issue?
As PR and marketing manager for Hand Dryers UK, I have been in contact with a wealth of organizations dealing with health and hygiene issues in different settings, both in the UK and Nationwide. After posing a range of questions to Katie Greenland of LSHTM, and Hanna Woodburn from the Global Public- Private Partnership for Hand washing, I thought it would be useful to compare and contrast their roles and ideology.
For the past three and a half years Katie Greenland has been employed as a Research Fellow of Hygiene Behaviour in the Environmental Health Group at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. She has been involved in research studies and clinical trials to improve practice of hygiene- related behaviours at the household level in low income settings ‘My research at LSHTM has taken me to India, Indonesia, Nepal, Bangladesh, Kenya and Zambia’ says Katie . ‘I am part-way through my PhD research in Zambia, where I am leading the evaluation of the impact of a multiple behaviour change intervention targeting caregivers of children under five. The intervention aims to change key behaviours (hand washing with soap, practice of exclusive breastfeeding to six months of age, and use of oral rehydration solution and zinc to manage diarrhea) which are important for prevention and control of diarrhea, the second largest killer of children under-five globally.’
Katie believes strongly in conducting operational research that improves the lives of the populations under study. ‘This is best achieved by collaborating with local researchers and engagement with decision – makers that can translate research findings into action.’ Her immediate goal is to complete her PHd research and she hopes to be able to make an impact on behaviour, which will encourage decision- makers to scale- up the intervention within Zambia.
The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine is a public research university situated in London which specializes in public health and tropical medicine. Founded by Sir Patrick Manson in 1899 it is one of the most prestigious institutions in the world of public health and infectious diseases.
Hanna Woodburn is the Communications Director for the Global Public-Private Partnership for Hand washing. Hanna has a Master’s Degree in Communication, Culture and Technology from Georgetown University and has a background in public policy. ‘Our organization, the Global- Public Private Partnership for Hand washing founded Global Hand washing Day’, says Hanna.’ Over 1 billion people have been reached with hand washing messages as a result of Global Hand washing Day. Many of our partners are working to implement hand washing behaviour change programs around the world. In addition to being a life- saving preventative measure for those most vulnerable to diarrhea and pneumonia, hand washing is also important to fight the spread of illness such as the common cold and influenza.’
As hand hygiene awareness days and weeks are now becoming part of our yearly calendar I asked Hanna if she thought they were beginning to have a significant impact, and, if so, how this could be measured. ‘Hand washing days, such as Global Hand washing Day, are definitely having an impact’, Hanna replied. ‘ We’ve seen a significant growth in the number of countries celebrating Global Hand washing Day, and oftentimes the celebrations lead to long term investment in hand washing promotion and behaviour change activities. For example, in the Phillipines, Global Hand washing Day was used by non- government organizations and the government, to announce new policies for group hand washing in schools and daycare centres throughout the country.’ She points out that ‘ Global Hand washing Day attracts the attention of the governments, private sector, NGOs, media and others to the issue of hand washing ,and forces everyone to answer the question: What are you doing to improve hand washing behavior? It is also an important tool for attracting sustainable investments in hand washing.
Global Hand washing Day is measured in its popularity and ability to inspire hand washing programs and policies’ says Hanna ‘Hand washing can be measured in the both the household and institutional settings. That is one reason why we are advocating for the inclusion of hand washing in government sanitation, schools, and other related programs and as a target in the post-2015 global agenda.
The Global Public- Private Partnership for Hand washing with Soap (PPPHW) is a coalition of international stakeholders whose focus is hand washing and child health. Established in 2001 it aims to give families, schools and communities in developing countries the power to prevent diarrhea and respiratory infections by promoting the practice of proper hand washing with soap, at crucial times.
Global Hand washing Day (GHD) is a campaign to motivate and mobilize millions around the world to wash their hands with soap. It takes place on October 15 of each year. The campaign is dedicated to raising awareness of hand washing with soap as a key approach to disease prevention.
Lynne Goodman – Marketing and PR director of HandryersUk. I have a keen interest in raising awareness for health and hygiene, and regularly write about health/hygiene issues , and the importance of raising awareness within everyday working environments. For more on my bio please visit http:// www.handryersuk.co.uk/blog/2014/05/19/lynne-goodman-bio