Proper hand washing, when performed at critical times, is the single most effective way of preventing diarrhoeal diseases. Preferably hands should be washed using soap or a substitute such as ash or sand, and with vigirous rubbing of hands.
The five critical times are:
- Before preparing food,
- Before eating,
- Before feeding of children,
- After using latrine,
- After cleaning of babies’ bottoms.
Handwashing stations are places where people can wash their hands, typically situated outside of communal sanitation facilities. This technical brief gives guidance on how to implement handwashing stations, using either Oxfam's handwashing station kit or by making handwashing stations locally.
The Oxfam Handwashing Stand and Handwashing Tap are available from the Oxfam Supply Centre
The following technical brief gives advice on how to promote the practice of handwashing within communities.
Mum's Magic Hands
Based on better understand the emotional motivators and barriers to handwashing in emergency contexts, Mum's Magic Hands is a behaviour change programme that can be used in any emergency context.
Get all the Mum's Magic Hands Resources
- PHP staff should include an assessment of motivation and barriers to handwashing in all rapid WASH assessments and baseline surveys.
- Handwashing should be addressed in all excreta disposal programmes, either at the latrine or in households - by the promotion of hand-washing techniques, and promotion and provision of soap or alternative.
- All institutional and public latrines constructed by Oxfam should have hand-washing facilities provided with soap or an alternative.
- Ensure adequate drainage around all hand washing facilities.