Objective : To examine the changes in hand-washing practices with soap among women as a result of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) intervention of BRAC.
Methods : A community-based study was conducted in 50 rural sub-districts of Bangladesh where BRAC (a non-governmental organization) has been offering WASH intervention since middle of 2006. Through a multi-stage thirty-cluster random sampling 27,662 adult women were selected for this study. The intervention includes promotional activities to install tubewells, sanitary latrines and improve hygienic practices including demonstration of hand-washing with soap. In villages with ≥80% sanitation coverage, the ultra poor received grant for sanitary latrine. The intervention is provided through cluster meetings, mosque sermons during Friday prayer, preventive home visits, and popular theater. To facilitate intervention, village WASH committees were formed across the villages. Data were collected before the inception and following two-year of intervention from the same households. Primary outcomes include changes in self-reported hand-washing practices with soap after contact with faces and waste; and before eating, cooking and serving food.
Results : At follow-up, a significant improvement was pronounced for hand-washing with soap irrespective of socioeconomic status in various indicators such as after contact with faeces, and waste; and before eating, cooking and serving food (ranges: 3%-15%). Multivariate analyses show that probability of washing hands with soap was higher among the non-poor and literate and less likely who reported to use unsanitary latrine. Participants who attended village WASH committee meetings were more likely to use soap for hand-washing.
Conclusion to make universal use of soap for hand-washing persistent intervention is due to prevent its related diseases and to enhance some of the targets of Millennium Development Goals.
Key words : Hand-washing, Soap, Rural, Women, Community-based, Bangladesh