Author: Nicolas Ajzenman, Sebastian Galiani, Paul Gertler and Alexandra Orsola-Vidal
Year: 2015
Full Citation: Ajzenman, N., Galiani, S., Gertler P., and Orsola-Vidal, A. (2015). Promoting Handwashing Behavior in Peru: The Effects of Large-Scale Community and School-Level Interventions. Health Economics.
Overview:
Changing handwashing behavior is a complex phenomenon involving personal habits. Researchers evaluated the impact of a large-scale handwashing intervention in Peru that introduced an innovative mix of mass media campaigns along with more intensive community activities, including educational sessions for caregivers and a handwashing curriculum in some schools. The program was effective in reaching its targeted households, improving knowledge related to handwashing, and modifying behaviors; however, these behavioral changes did not translate into better child health.
Findings:
The results of this evaluation suggest that mass media promotional campaigns, when coupled with more intensive and personalized treatments such as community and school-based activities, are effective in reaching target audiences, and can increase knowledge and induce behavioral change. Nevertheless, improving child health through these mechanisms remains a challenge, and more research is needed on how to effectively reduce sanitation-related illnesses.
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