Hand hygiene behaviour is one the most important practices one can follow to avoid falling sick. Many diseases are spread by not washing hands and people especially in rural areas in India, fall prey to many diarrhoeal diseases, due to lack of knowledge, awareness and clean water. A new study released by WaterAid India reveals that knowledge and practices of handwashing associated with childcare tasks are abysmally poor in rural India, as reported by PTI. The study ‘Spotlight on handwashing in rural India’ was released today to mark the Global Handwashing Day, which is on October 15. The study surveyed the handwashing behaviour in four rural states of India, namely, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Odisha. The results revealed that general practices of hand washing after defecation and before eating a meal were low in houses having children below five years of age.
The study also made some shocking revelations. In 2015, 321 children died every day due to diarrhoea. According to the study, the proper practice of handwashing involves washing hand with soaps five times a day i.e. after defecation, after cleaning a child’s bottom, before feeding infants, before eating and before preparing food. It has also been found that such practices, once followed, are estimated to reduce the diarrhoeal diseases by 47 per cent. Arundati Muralidharan, WaterAid India’s Policy Manager, said, “handwashing is underrated and often forgotten when we talk about water, sanitation and hygiene, as reported by PTI.
According to the study, “Only 26.3 per cent washed hands before child feeding, 14.7 per cent before breastfeeding, 16.7 per cent after disposing child faeces, and 18.4 per cent after cleaning a child’s bottom.”