Volume 89, Issue 3
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645



Handwashing is difficult in settings with limited resources and water access. In primary schools within urban Kibera, Kenya, we investigated the impact of providing waterless hand sanitizer on student hand hygiene behavior. Two schools received a waterless hand sanitizer intervention, two schools received a handwashing with soap intervention, and two schools received no intervention. Hand cleaning behavior after toilet use was monitored for 2 months using structured observation. Hand cleaning after toileting was 82% at sanitizer schools ( = 2,507 toileting events), 38% at soap schools ( = 3,429), and 37% at control schools ( = 2,797). Students at sanitizer schools were 23% less likely to have observed rhinorrhea than control students ( = 0.02); reductions in student-reported gastrointestinal and respiratory illness symptoms were not statistically significant. Providing waterless hand sanitizer markedly increased student hand cleaning after toilet use, whereas the soap intervention did not. Waterless hand sanitizer may be a promising option to improve student hand cleansing behavior, particularly in schools with limited water access.


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  • Received : 06 Jan 2013
  • Accepted : 20 May 2013
  • Published online : 04 Sep 2013

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