Design of an Intervention to Minimize Ingestion of Fecal Microbes by Young Children in Rural Zimbabwe

Clin Infect Dis. 2015 Dec 15;61 Suppl 7(Suppl 7):S703-9. doi: 10.1093/cid/civ845.


We sought to develop a water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) intervention to minimize fecal-oral transmission among children aged 0-18 months in the Sanitation Hygiene Infant Nutrition Efficacy (SHINE) trial. We undertook 4 phases of formative research, comprising in-depth interviews, focus group discussions, behavior trials, and a combination of observations and microbiological sampling methods. The resulting WASH intervention comprises material inputs and behavior change communication to promote stool disposal, handwashing with soap, water treatment, protected exploratory play, and hygienic infant feeding. Nurture and disgust were found to be key motivators, and are used as emotional triggers. The concept of a safe play space for young children was particularly novel, and families were eager to implement this after learning about the risks of unprotected exploratory play. An iterative process of formative research was essential to create a sequenced and integrated longitudinal intervention for a SHINE household as it expects (during pregnancy) and then cares for a new child.

Keywords: environmental enteric dysfunction; formative research; intervention design research; stunting; water, sanitation and hygiene.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Trials as Topic / methods
  • Eating
  • Feces / microbiology*
  • Female
  • Hand Disinfection
  • Health Behavior
  • Hemoglobins / analysis
  • Humans
  • Hygiene*
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Intestines / physiopathology*
  • Male
  • Research Design
  • Rural Population
  • Sanitation*
  • Water Supply
  • Zimbabwe


  • Hemoglobins