Observed practices and perceived advantages of different hand cleansing agents in rural Bangladesh: Ash, soil, and soap

Fosiul A. Nizame, Sharifa Nasreen, Amal K. Halder, Shaila Arman, Peter J. Winch, Leanne Unicomb, Stephen P. Luby

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Bangladeshi communities have historically used ash and soil as handwashing agents. A structured observation study and qualitative interviews on the use of ash/soil and soap as handwashing agents were conducted in rural Bangladesh to help develop a handwashing promotion intervention. The observations were conducted among 1,000 randomly selected households from 36 districts. Fieldworkers observed people using ash/soil to wash their hand(s) on 13% of occasions after defecation and on 10% after cleaning a child's anus. This compares with 19% of people who used soap after defecation and 27% after cleaning a child who defecated. Using ash/soil or soap was rarely (< 1%) observed at other times recommended for handwashing. The qualitative study enrolled 24 households from three observation villages, where high usage of ash/soil for handwashing was detected. Most informants reported that ash/soil was used only for handwashing after fecal contact, and that ash/soil could clean hands as effectively as soap.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1111-1116
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
Volume92
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Virology
  • Infectious Diseases

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