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.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Infectious Diseases