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Title

Applying a Biopsychosocial Perspective to Address Hand Washing Behaviors Among Young Learners in Limpopo, South Africa

Presentation Type

Poster Presentation

Abstract

Despite its perceived simplicity, the promotion of hand washing for disease prevention remains a challenge particularly in resource-limited settings. We report on a quasi-experimental study to measure the independent effect of contextual (resource modifications) and individual-level (education) factors on hand washing behaviors of learners attending two primary schools in Limpopo, South Africa. Resource modifications were made at School A and included improvements in hygiene and sanitation facilities that increased access to soap and water. Subsequently, education programs, developed in collaboration with local educators and focused on hand washing for disease prevention, were delivered at both schools. Observations included total counts of hand washing and hand washing paired with toilet facility use. At School A, significant increases in hand washing occurred following resource modifications (total counts: T0=359, T1=712; t=3.61, p=0.018). Additional increases in total hand washing behaviors occurred following education (T2=1095, t=3.88; p=0.015). In contrast, at School B, with education alone smaller increases in total hand washing were observed (T0=249; T1=324; t=2.08, p=0.065). Resource improvements are necessary in order to promote disease prevention behaviors such as hand washing. However, education aids to both promote and sustain these behaviors at the individual level. Results confirm that coordinated interventions that address health promoting behaviors at multiple levels are likely to achieve more substantial change.

Start Date

25-4-2015 12:00 PM

End Date

25-4-2015 1:15 PM

Faculty Advisor

Alex Oberle

Comments

Location: Great Reading Room, Seerley Hall

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Apr 25th, 12:00 PM Apr 25th, 1:15 PM

Applying a Biopsychosocial Perspective to Address Hand Washing Behaviors Among Young Learners in Limpopo, South Africa

Despite its perceived simplicity, the promotion of hand washing for disease prevention remains a challenge particularly in resource-limited settings. We report on a quasi-experimental study to measure the independent effect of contextual (resource modifications) and individual-level (education) factors on hand washing behaviors of learners attending two primary schools in Limpopo, South Africa. Resource modifications were made at School A and included improvements in hygiene and sanitation facilities that increased access to soap and water. Subsequently, education programs, developed in collaboration with local educators and focused on hand washing for disease prevention, were delivered at both schools. Observations included total counts of hand washing and hand washing paired with toilet facility use. At School A, significant increases in hand washing occurred following resource modifications (total counts: T0=359, T1=712; t=3.61, p=0.018). Additional increases in total hand washing behaviors occurred following education (T2=1095, t=3.88; p=0.015). In contrast, at School B, with education alone smaller increases in total hand washing were observed (T0=249; T1=324; t=2.08, p=0.065). Resource improvements are necessary in order to promote disease prevention behaviors such as hand washing. However, education aids to both promote and sustain these behaviors at the individual level. Results confirm that coordinated interventions that address health promoting behaviors at multiple levels are likely to achieve more substantial change.