Effect of a school-based hand hygiene program for Malawian children: A cluster randomized controlled trial

Am J Infect Control. 2019 Dec;47(12):1460-1464. doi: 10.1016/j.ajic.2019.06.009. Epub 2019 Jul 16.

Abstract

Background: Proper handwashing technique can reduce the mortality of a child. This study aimed to evaluate the impact of a school-based hand hygiene program on the handwashing compliance of children and school absenteeism in Southern Africa.

Methods: We conducted a 2-arm cluster randomized trial in which 6 private primary schools were allocated randomly to either intervention (3 schools) or control (3 schools) groups. The intervention group consisted of implementing a series of planned activities and measures of hand hygiene program over 9 months. Parameters of primary and secondary outcomes were estimated with generalized estimating equations.

Results: There were no significant between-group differences in demographic characteristics. The knowledge scores in the intervention group were significantly higher than the scores in the control group, and the technique scores in the intervention group were significantly higher than the scores in the control group after baseline. Further, after the third month, the cleanliness scores in the intervention group were significantly higher than the scores in the control group. In addition, the number of sick leave days decreased in the intervention group.

Conclusions: The impact of the school-based hand hygiene program was positive. It can be used in both the planning and development of a hand hygiene protocol to increase the handwashing compliance rate of schoolchildren and to reduce school absenteeism in developing countries.

Keywords: Developing countries; Handwashing compliance rate; Health policy; School absenteeism; Schoolchildren; Simplified handwashing procedure.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Absenteeism
  • Child
  • Cluster Analysis
  • Developing Countries
  • Female
  • Hand Disinfection*
  • Humans
  • Malawi
  • Male
  • Patient Compliance / statistics & numerical data*
  • Patient Education as Topic / organization & administration*
  • Research Design
  • Schools
  • Soaps
  • Students

Substances

  • Soaps