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Cambodia: Study of Handwashing Practices and Equipment

Authors: Marion W. Jenkins, Aprajita Anand, Geoff Revell, Mark D. Sobsey

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Background: Lack of a dedicated place and equipment for handwashing has been associated with poor practice of handwashing with soap in the home in developing communities where the practice is needed to reduce diarrhea diseases and respiratory infections.

Methods: We conducted formative research on handwashing knowledge, attitudes, practices and equipment and investigated the need and demand for dedicated handwashing equipment to enable improved hygiene practices and enhance handwashing performance for health in rural Cambodian homes wherewater is collected and stored. Responses to closed and open-ended questions and structured observation of a demonstration of handwashing by the mother or another female adult child caretaker in 79 households were used to identify handwashing occasions, evaluate handwashing equipment and competency, investigate attitudes and structural barriers to handwashing with soap, and assess use of and interest in dedicated handwashing equipment.

Results: We found significant evidence ofthe need for handwashing enabling equipment to eliminate unsafe domestic water handling during handwashing and reduce structural barriers to routine handwashing with soap in Cambodian homes dependent on stored water supplies. Substantial interest in dedicated handwashing equipment and in specific equipment features was measured.

Conclusions: Findings suggest household demand for and uptake of affordable household handwashing facilities incorporating desired features and functionality could be generated in Cambodia to support improved domestic hygiene practices.