Objective: To document frequency of hygiene practices of mothers and children in a shantytown in Lima, Peru. Methods: Continuous monitoring over three 12-h sessions in households without in-house water connections to measure: (i) water and soap use of 32 mothers; (ii) frequency of interrupting faecal-hand contamination by washing; and (iii) the time until faecal-hand contamination became a possible transmission event. Results: During 1008 h of observation, 55% (65/119) of mothers' and 69% (37/54) of children's faecal-hand contamination events were not followed within 15 min by handwashing or bathing. Nearly 40% (67/173) of faecal-hand contamination events became possible faecal-oral transmission events. There was no difference in the time-until-transmission between mothers and children (P = 0.43). Potential transmission of faecal material to food or mouth occurred in 64% of cases within 1 h of hand contamination. Mean water usage (6.5 l) was low compared to international disaster relief standards. Conclusions: We observed low volumes of water usage, inadequate handwashing, and frequent opportunities for faecal contamination and possible transmission in this water-scarce community.
- Water supply
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Infectious Diseases