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It's a wash: Hands-on hygiene in Peru

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Science  12 Sep 2014:
Vol. 345, Issue 6202, pp. 1262-1263
DOI: 10.1126/science.345.6202.1262

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Summary

Washing hands with soap and water is easy, and it has a clear public health benefit. Studies suggest it could prevent up to two-fifths of diarrheal disease and one-fourth of pneumonia, the two biggest killers of children in poor countries. Yet few people in poor countries regularly wash their hands, only between 3% and 34%. In 2008, the Peruvian government launched a mass media and education campaign to encourage mothers and children to wash their hands at key times. It also distributed kits with soap and water to households. Surprisingly, the campaign had very little effect on behavior and none on disease.