Hygiene key to public health

Washing hands

Pupils wash hands at a primary school in Nyeri. Caregivers should help children maintain good hand hygiene.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

There has been an upsurge in hygiene-related diseases, which include Covid-19. The Ministry of Health continues to grapple with the challenges of reaching various sections of the populations with the tools needed to fight these diseases, even as the country works to recover from the economic and social impacts of the pandemic.

Hygiene Behaviour Change Coalition (HBCC) has all along focused on delivering evidence-based interventions to improve personal and environmental hygiene to reduce the spread of Covid-19 and other diseases.

Following the Covid -19 mutation, vaccination inequality, low observance of public measures and the need to sustain hand hygiene, HBCC project aims to provide support to vulnerable groups; young mothers, caregivers, school children and the elderly.

Behaviour change

To achieve behaviour change among the target population, programmes must think outside the box and come up with engaging activities, in addition to educational sessions, to capture the attention of the public and make them feel part of the programme. Self-motivated activities should be encouraged to ensure a majority are on board when it comes practising hand-washing and other hygiene practices.

Hand hygiene is at times overlooked but it is very effective. Hand-washing has played a major role in reducing the spread of hygiene-related diseases, including Covid-19. Systems must, therefore, become more resilient to sustain the hand-washing culture and prevent future outbreaks from occurring.

Behaviour change is also essential in creating sustainable services and maximising the public health impact of our investment in water, sanitization and hygiene (WASH ).

There is a need to support the population in hygiene and behaviour change to avoid compromising human dignity through polluted food, contaminated water and poor sanitisation.

Ms Mwangi is communication assistant,  HBCC-Project Amref.