A scoping review to identify the type and effect of hand hygiene interventions on the reduction of infectious diseases (including COVID-19) in preschool children
Background. Proper handwashing can reduce the burden of diseases related to hand hygiene (HH) and so contribute reducing under-5 mortality. Preschoolers can benefit from HH interventions by the burden of disease and absenteeism being reduced.
Objective. To perform a scoping review of literature to assess the types and effectiveness of HH interventions at preschools, with a view to providing a guideline for appropriate interventions for South African facilities.
Methods. A literature search was conducted through the PubMed database to identify relevant studies. An iterative screening process to focus the review allowed for information on the type and effectiveness of interventions to be collated. An updated PubMed search was conducted to determine whether any interventions related to COVID-19 at preschools could be included.
Results. No additional studies relating to COVID-19 were found. Of the 305 studies identified during the initial search, only 12 fitted the specific search criteria. Of these, 10 studies showed improvements in HH-related indicators following the interventions. Only two studies used health education as an intervention, whereas the others included the supply of HH products (to varying extents) as part of the intervention.
Conclusion. HH interventions appear successful in reducing diseases spread by poor HH, improving general HH practices and reducing absenteeism among preschoolers. Studies using innovative, entertaining methods of educating children have shown to be successful in improving handwashing techniques and decreasing microbial growth on children’s hands. HH interventions are suggested as an effective measure to improve HH during the COVID-19 pandemic
S Lange, Water and Health Research Centre, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa
T G Bernard, Water and Health Research Centre, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa
N Naicker, The Epidemiology and Surveillance Section, National Institute for Occupational Health, National Health Laboratory Services, Braamfontein, South Africa; Environmental Health Department, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa
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Date published: 2022-02-01
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