Objective: We tested whether soap presence in the home or a designated handwashing station was associated with diarrhoea and respiratory illness in Kenya. Methods: In April 2009, we observed presence of a handwashing station and soap in households participating in a longitudinal health surveillance system in rural Kenya. Diarrhoea and acute respiratory illness (ARI) in children < 5 years old were identified using parent-reported syndromic surveillance collected January-April 2009. We used multivariate generalised linear regression to estimate differences in prevalence of illness between households with and without the presence of soap in the home and a handwashing station. Results: Among 2547 children, prevalence of diarrhoea and ARI was 2.3 and 11.4 days per 100 child-days, respectively. Soap was observed in 97% of households. Children in households with soap had 1.3 fewer days of diarrhoea/100 child-days (95% CI -2.6, -0.1) than children in households without soap. ARI prevalence was not associated with presence of soap. A handwashing station was identified in 1.4% of households and was not associated with a difference in diarrhoea or ARI prevalence. Conclusions: Soap presence in the home was significantly associated with reduced diarrhoea, but not ARI, in children in rural western Kenya. Whereas most households had soap in the home, almost none had a designated handwashing station, which may prevent handwashing at key times of hand contamination.
- Acute respiratory infection
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Infectious Diseases