|LETTER TO THE EDITOR
|Year : 2015 | Volume
| Issue : 3 | Page : 419-420
Handwashing techniques in households in a rural area of Haryana, India
Meely Panda1, Brij Mohan Vashisht2
1 Department of Community Medicine, Pandit Bhagwat Dayal Sharma Post Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences, Rohtak, India
2 Department of Community Medicine, Shaheed Hasan Khan Mewati Government Medical College, Nalhar, Mewat, Haryana, India
|Date of Web Publication||15-May-2015|
Department of Community Medicine, Pandit Bhagwat Dayal Sharma Post Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences, Rohtak - 124 001, Haryana
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
|How to cite this article:|
Panda M, Vashisht BM. Handwashing techniques in households in a rural area of Haryana, India. Med J DY Patil Univ 2015;8:419-20
Concept of sanitation is as old as humanity itself though it has witnessed sea of changes in terms of its accepted meanings, dimensions, its implied and established relations with diseases. It has a bearing on large number of human illnesses and leads to economic burden in terms of direct medical costs. A simple and proper method of washing hands is found to eliminate over 90% of infections.
We conducted a study to know about the handwashing techniques followed in households in a village of block Chiri, a rural field practice area attached to the Department of Community Medicine, 35 km from Rohtak, Haryana. The population of the village stood at 10,130. A simple random sampling was done to pick 100 houses in the village and female head of house was questioned regarding ways of handwashing they follow in their family. Out of all the houses visited, on trying to sum up all members in each household, it was found that there were a total of 520 members. Among them, there were 302 males (58%) and rest 218 (42%) were females. Children aged <14 years comprised 15% of the total, that is, 78/520. Of 78 children, 48 (61.5%) were male children and rest 30 (38.5%) were female children. It was observed that out of a total of 100 houses, handwashing practices after meals were followed in 98% of houses and not followed in 2% of households. Out of 98 households who followed handwasing practices, 86% washed their hands both before and after meals, whereas, the rest 12% did not do it for both time. Almost 73.5% use soap and water to wash their hands, whereas 26.5% do not [Table 1]. Just 20.5% said that they wash their hands after coming from outside. There were just 36.7% of households who made it a point to wash their hands 4-6 times a day.
Simple handwashing techniques can really be a cost effective means of eliminating almost 90% of infections.  Hence, more stress should be given on proper technique of handwashing in the developing country like India. A scheduled handwashing program will reduce acute communicable (gastrointestinal) illnesses in elementary school-age children.  Hand sanitizer and surface disinfection reduced absenteeism caused by gastrointestinal illness in elementary school students. Schools should consider adopting these practices to reduce days lost to common illnesses.  Despite continuing hygiene education, rates of "safe" handwashing are sub-optimal. Soap scarcity in some households and the prioritization of laundry are barriers to safe practice. Heterogeneity with respect to education and place of origin may need to be taken into account in the design of improved interventions. 
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