1921
Volume 101, Issue 4
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645

Abstract

Abstract.

Trachoma is the leading infectious cause of blindness, and facial cleanliness is associated with reduced odds of trachomatous inflammation and infection, but there is little evidence of how to drive this behavior change at scale. We report the results of a program integrating face washing into a school-based handwashing promotion program in Turkana County, Kenya. Children aged 5–15 years participated in an intervention delivered to schools in two phases, along with a third phase receiving the intervention after the evaluation, which served as a control. The primary outcome was the number of face washing events that took place when handwashing occurred, which was measured by a 3-hour structured observation at all 67 schools, and a total of 3,871 handwashing events were observed. Differences in observed in face washing behavior between each phase and the control schools were calculated using log-binomial regression with clustering at the school level, whereas survey responses on knowledge of trachoma transmission and prevention were compared using χ tests adjusted for clustering at the school level. Face washing during handwashing events was higher in schools after 12 months (59.3%) and 20 months (44.2%) than in control schools (18.7%, < 0.001). Trachoma knowledge was higher in schools evaluated after 12 months (80%) and 20 months (70%) than in control schools (42%, < 0.001), and knowledge of some of key preventive behaviors was higher in intervention schools. Integrating face washing messages into school-based handwashing promotion programs increased face washing, which may help to prevent trachoma when combined with other interventions.

[open-access] This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

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  • Received : 13 May 2019
  • Accepted : 20 May 2019
  • Published online : 05 Aug 2019

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