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77 Per Cent People Changed Their Handwashing Habits Due To COVID-19, Finds A Study By WaterAid India

The novel coronavirus pandemic has underscored the disease prevention benefits of hand washing with soap; WaterAid India conducted this study to understand the on ground awareness regarding handwashing in preventing COVID-19

Global Handwashing Day 2020: 77 Per Cent People Changed Their Handwashing Habits Due To COVID-19, Finds A Study By WaterAid India
Highlights
  • 98% know to wash hands before meals, 87% know to do it after toilet: Study
  • 23% people know to wash hands after touching commonly used objects: Study
  • The study was conducted across 6 states between 28 May and 12 June 2020

New Delhi: Hand washing with soap is a cost-effective public health intervention, notes the study ‘Hand Hygiene for COVID-19 and Beyond in India’ by non-governmental organisation, WaterAid. Hand hygiene practices in India, however, have remained low, it says. The COVID-19 pandemic in India has underscored the disease prevention benefits of hand washing with soap and other protective measures in slowing the spread of Coronavirus.

The WaterAid India study was conducted as a rapid household survey, with an aim to understand whether communication on hand hygiene during this phase of the pandemic and lockdown were received, understood, and translated into action. WaterAid India conducted the study between May 28 and June 12, 2020 in six States – Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, and Karnataka, with 790 respondents.

The States and gram panchayats were selected based on WaterAid India’s field presence, safety and ease of access post lockdown, the report clarifies.

Moreover, the study’s sampling was purposive at the community level, specifically seeking to interview adults from households with children under six years, elderly above 60 years, and households who were identified as vulnerable or marginalised according to socio-economic criteria (tribal households, Dalit families, migrant workers).

Also Read: Global Handwashing Day: Five Easy Ways To Promote Handwashing Habit In Children

Here are the key findings of the report:

  1. As per the study, 67 per cent of the respondents received information about the role of hand washing in preventing COVID-19, among other preventative measures. The main sources of information on coronavirus and hand washing were the informal community networks, television, frontline workers and mobile phones, the study reports. Strikingly, 92 percent and 87 per cent of the people surveyed highlighted soap as the most effective handwashing agent in general and during the pandemic, respectively.
  2. The study records that 98 per cent of those surveyed were aware that hands must be cleaned before meals, while 87 per cent knew that they should wash hands after using the toilet. However, only 44 per cent knew that they should wash hands also before feeding their children. Furthermore, when it comes to COVID-19 specific information, only 34 per cent people knew that they should wash hands after sneezing,  23 per cent knew they should do so after contact with commonly used surfaces and objects and 61 per cent knew to wash hands after returning home from outside.
  3. Approximately three-fourths of the study sample reported making some change to their handwashing practices at home, with a 77 percent of those noting the need to protect self from Coronavirus as the driving factor.
  4. To wash hands, 41 per cent households are using piped water or stored water with tap for handwashing, and 57 per cent directly using water from a handpump or stored water without a tap. The lack of a tap connection may compromise proper handwashing practices as it makes cleaning both hands together (as per the steps) challenging without additional assistance, the study highlights. Compounding limited access to water for handwashing, was the availability of a handwashing space in the household. While several households reported had more than one handwashing space, in 18 per cent of households, the only handwashing space was outside the home.
  5. 15 per cent of households reported facing challenges in washing hands inside the home, and 34 per cent experienced difficulties outside the home. Despite reportedly high rates of handwashing, the study explains that the challenges noted are in line with access to handwashing space and water with the household premises – the lack of handwashing space in the home, poor availability of soap and lack of piped water supply. Outside the home, inadequate water, lack of soap and handwashing space were major barriers to practice.
Findings For WaterAid India's Study 'Hand Hygiene for COVID-19 and Beyond in India'

Findings For WaterAid India’s Study ‘Hand Hygiene for COVID-19 and Beyond in India’

Also Read: Opinion: Sustained Handwashing Behaviour In India – A Necessity During COVID-19 Pandemic

Along with the above mentioned findings, the study, Hand Hygiene for COVID-19 and Beyond in India, recommends that there should not only be messages around hand washing, but for sustained hand washing behaviours.

Explain diseases transmission routes, with clear messages on how hand washing with soap and other protective measures disrupts the transmission of diseases. Continue to emphasise non-COVID-related critical times, especially washing hands with soap before cooking, engaging in child care tasks, the study recommends.

The study also suggests exploring how hygiene promotion interventions i.e., creating awareness on hygiene practices and ensuring essential hygiene facilities, can transition into hygiene behaviour change interventions. The approach can bring about sustained or long lasting change in behaviours, it says.

Also Read: Fighting COVID-19 With Hand Hygiene: Lack Of Water And Handwashing Infrastructure Pose Challenge For The Poor

NDTV – Dettol Banega Swasth India campaign is an extension of the five-year-old Banega Swachh India initiative helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. It aims to spread awareness about critical health issues facing the country. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (WaterSanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign highlights the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children to prevent maternal and child mortality, fight malnutrition, stunting, wasting, anaemia and disease prevention through vaccines. Importance of programmes like Public Distribution System (PDS), Mid-day Meal Scheme, POSHAN Abhiyan and the role of Aganwadis and ASHA workers are also covered. Only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and become a Swasth or healthy India. The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollutionwaste managementplastic banmanual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene.  

World

22,90,75,864Cases
19,16,26,474Active
3,27,49,574Recovered
46,99,816Deaths
Coronavirus has spread to 195 countries. The total confirmed cases worldwide are 22,90,75,864 and 46,99,816 have died; 19,16,26,474 are active cases and 3,27,49,574 have recovered as on September 21, 2021 at 3:56 am.

India

3,35,04,534 26,115Cases
3,09,5758,606Active
3,27,49,574 34,469Recovered
4,45,385 252Deaths
In India, there are 3,35,04,534 confirmed cases including 4,45,385 deaths. The number of active cases is 3,09,575 and 3,27,49,574 have recovered as on September 21, 2021 at 2:30 am.

State Details

State Cases Active Recovered Deaths
Maharashtra

65,24,498 2,583

45,229 1,281

63,40,723 3,836

1,38,546 28

Kerala

45,24,158 15,692

1,67,578 6,623

43,32,897 22,223

23,683 92

Karnataka

29,68,543 677

14,386 1,025

29,16,530 1,678

37,627 24

Tamil Nadu

26,47,041 1,661

16,984 15

25,94,697 1,623

35,360 23

Andhra Pradesh

20,39,529 839

14,388 311

20,11,063 1,142

14,078 8

Uttar Pradesh

17,09,680 11

194 4

16,86,599 15

22,887

West Bengal

15,62,173 524

7,810 96

15,35,699 608

18,664 12

Delhi

14,38,517 20

379 8

14,13,053 28

25,085

Odisha

10,20,754 510

4,947 96

10,07,666 600

8,141 6

Chhattisgarh

10,05,094 38

297 7

9,91,234 43

13,563 2

Rajasthan

9,54,263 9

91 10

9,45,218 19

8,954

Gujarat

8,25,737 14

133 3

8,15,522 17

10,082

Madhya Pradesh

7,92,402 8

96 0

7,81,789 8

10,517

Haryana

7,70,746 13

340 6

7,60,598 7

9,808

Bihar

7,25,901 7

69 1

7,16,173 8

9,659

Telangana

6,63,662 208

4,991 14

6,54,765 220

3,906 2

Punjab

6,01,323 59

307 10

5,84,517 38

16,499 31

Assam

5,98,423 455

4,984 72

5,87,632 517

5,807 10

Jharkhand

3,48,125 9

55 1

3,42,937 10

5,133

Uttarakhand

3,43,393 11

267 6

3,35,736 17

7,390

Jammu And Kashmir

3,28,069 128

1,461 32

3,22,191 159

4,417 1

Himachal Pradesh

2,17,140 234

1,616 54

2,11,871 177

3,653 3

Goa

1,75,583 85

810 36

1,71,478 48

3,295 1

Puducherry

1,25,517 54

867 56

1,22,818 109

1,832 1

Manipur

1,18,673 178

2,183 6

1,14,658 183

1,832 1

Tripura

83,905 51

346 10

82,750 40

809 1

Mizoram

81,460 1,731

15,140 1,008

66,057 721

263 2

Meghalaya

79,667 174

1,896 5

76,391 168

1,380 1

Chandigarh

65,188 7

41 4

64,329 3

818

Arunachal Pradesh

54,126 56

410 12

53,444 67

272 1

Sikkim

30,971 16

654 59

29,937 74

380 1

Nagaland

30,907 43

467 17

29,786 59

654 1

Ladakh

20,737 7

138 4

20,392 3

207

Dadra And Nagar Haveli

10,670

0 1

10,666 1

4

Lakshadweep

10,359 3

8 3

10,300

51

Andaman And Nicobar Islands

7,600

13 0

7,458

129

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