Tuesday 01 April 2008, 12:00AM
PEARLS 56, April 2008, written by Brian R
How effective is hand washing in preventing diarrhoea in children
Hand washing can reduce diarrhoea episodes by about 30 per cent in
institutions in high-income countries and in communities in
low-income or middle-income countries. Hand washing is particularly
important after defaecation and handling faeces, and before
preparing and eating food.
Trials are needed with longer follow-up (more than 12 months) and
that test different methods of promoting hand washing.
Diarrhoea is a serious global public health problem,
particularly in low-income and middle-income countries.The World
Health Organization estimates that over three million episodes
occur each year, with many people dying, especially children aged
less than five years in low-income and middle-income countries.
Cochrane Systematic Review
Ejemont RI et al. Hand washing for preventing diarrhoea.
Cochrane Reviews 2008, Issue 1. Article No. CD004265. DOI:
10.1002/14651858.CD004265.pub2. Note: This review contains 14
trials involving 17,465 participants.