Assessing the Impact of a Handwashing Knowledge and Practices Program among Poor Households in Rural Bangladesh: A Cluster‐Randomized Pre–Post Study

Towfida Jahan Siddiqua Nutrition and Clinical Services Division, ICDDR,B, Dhaka, Bangladesh;

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Nuzhat Choudhury Nutrition and Clinical Services Division, ICDDR,B, Dhaka, Bangladesh;

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Md Ahshanul Haque Nutrition and Clinical Services Division, ICDDR,B, Dhaka, Bangladesh;

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Fahmida Dil Farzana Nutrition and Clinical Services Division, ICDDR,B, Dhaka, Bangladesh;

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Mohammad Ali Nutrition and Clinical Services Division, ICDDR,B, Dhaka, Bangladesh;

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Farina Naz Nutrition and Clinical Services Division, ICDDR,B, Dhaka, Bangladesh;

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S. M. Tanvir Ahmed Save the Children Bangladesh, Dhaka, Bangladesh

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Sheikh Shahed Rahman Save the Children Bangladesh, Dhaka, Bangladesh

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A. S. G. Faruque Nutrition and Clinical Services Division, ICDDR,B, Dhaka, Bangladesh;

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Tahmeed Ahmed Nutrition and Clinical Services Division, ICDDR,B, Dhaka, Bangladesh;

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ABSTRACT.

Improvement in hand hygiene has been strongly associated with positive outcomes in maternal and child health. Although Bangladesh has a high level of awareness of key hygiene messages, the practice of handwashing, the most effective hygiene behavior, is low. Suchana, a multisectoral nutrition program, aims to increase knowledge and practices around various water, sanitation, and hygiene settings in Sylhet region, the northeast of rural Bangladesh. This study aimed to investigate the changes in indicators related to handwashing knowledge and practices among Suchana beneficiaries in final compared with baseline evaluations. Data were derived from the baseline and final cross-sectional evaluation survey. The following handwashing knowledge and practices were considered: handwashing before preparing food, before eating food and feeding children, before serving food, after defecation, and after touching animals. The descriptive findings indicate that Suchana intervention improved handwashing knowledge and practices in the intervention area compared with the control. The odds of having knowledge of hand washing before preparing food (adjusted odds ratio [aOR]: 1.60; 95% CI: 1.30–1.98), before eating food and feeding children (aOR: 1.68; 95% CI: 1.25–2.25), before serving food (aOR: 1.35; 95% CI: 1.04–1.76), after defecation (aOR: 1.74; 95% CI: 1.25–2.41), and after touching animals (aOR: 1.67; 95% CI: 1.29–2.16) were higher in intervention area than the control area. Similarly, the impact on maternal handwashing practices at final evaluation indicated successful effects of the intervention. These results suggest scaling-up of similar interventions for larger populations living in vulnerable areas of rural Bangladesh.

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Author Notes

Address correspondence to Towfida Jahan Siddiqua, Nutrition and Clinical Services Division, ICDDR,B, 68, Shaheed Tajuddin Ahmed Sharani, Mohakhali, Dhaka 1212, Bangladesh. E-mail: towfida@gmail.com

Financial support: This study was made possible by the committed contribution of the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office.

Disclosure: This study was approved by the Research Review Committee and Ethical Review Committee, the two obligatory components of the institutional review board of the icddr,b. Informed written consent was obtained from all study participants.

The data that support the findings of this study are available on request from the corresponding author. The data are not publicly available due to privacy or ethical restrictions.

Authors’ addresses: Towfida Jahan Siddiqua, Nuzhat Choudhury, Md Ahshanul Haque, Fahmida Dil Farzana, Mohammad Ali, Farina Naz, A. S. G. Faruque, and Tahmeed Ahmed, Nutrition and Clinical Services Division, ICDDR,B, Dhaka, Bangladesh, E-mail: towfida@icddrb.orgl, nuzhat@icddrb.org, ahshanul.haque@icddrb.org, fahmidaf@icddrb.org, md.ali@icddrb.org, farina.Naz@icddrb.org, gfaruque@icddrb.org, and tahmeed@icddrb.org. S. M. Tanvir Ahmed and Sheikh Shahed Rahman, Save the Children Bangladesh, Dhaka, Bangladesh, E-mails: ahmed.tanvir@savethechildren.org and shahed.rahman@savethechildren.org.

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