hands4health - Hand hygiene, water quality and sanitation in primary health care facilities and schools not connected to a functional water supply system
Current technologies and approaches to improve water, sanitation and hygiene are fragmented. Hands4health focuses on the development, testing, evaluation and scaling up of new water efficient hand washing technologies as well as on a holistic approach to hand hygiene, water quality and sanitation. To leave no one behind, the project works in primary health care facilities and schools not connected to a functional water supply system in in four target countries and beyond.
Background: Proper and frequent hand hygiene is one of the most important measures that can be taken to prevent the transmission of diseases and infections. The primary health care level plays a crucial role in the prevention and management of high impact communicable diseases as currently demonstrated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Staff, patients and attendants in primary health care facilities, as well as children and teachers at schools are particularly vulnerable to disease transmission.
The current technologies and approaches to improve hand hygiene, water quality and sanitation in primary health care and schools are fragmented and therefore insufficiently address the complexity of the problem. Improved technological solutions and new infrastructure are often made with limited supporting measures targeting long term behaviour change of the users. Another challenge is that new infrastructures are designed not sufficiently taking into account the needs and the acceptance of different target groups. The consequences are that interventions in hand hygiene, water quality and sanitation have limited impact on end users’ well-being and health.
The 11 members of the hands4health Consortium are keen to develop, test and scientifically evaluate new water efficient hand washing technologies as well as a holistic approach to hand hygiene, water quality and sanitation.
The project will target primary health care facilities and schools not connected to a functional water supply system. The target areas suffer from water scarcity (Mali and Burkina Faso, occupied Palestinian territory (OPT)), water quality (OPT) and lack of access or an overuse of ground water (Nigeria). Improving water use efficiency is key for all target areas. In order for the water, sanitation and hygiene solutions to be affordable, their cost efficiency needs to be improved.
A) Increased water use efficiency in health care facilities and schools and increased cost efficiency at institutional level ensure the sustainability of services.
B) Improved health for staff, patients and visitors of health care facilities, as well as for staff and children in schools.
Target groups: 97,000 beneficiaries from health care facilities and/or schools in the four countries (targets are 60% adults/children40%, 60% women/40% men)
The schools and health care facilities lie in conflict affected areas, refugee and internally displaced population camps, informal settlements and remote rural areas in the four target countries.
Mirko Winkler, Associate Professor, PhD, DTM&H
Head of Unit