Hand hygiene for all
Handwashing promotion campaigns are the most cost effective compared to any other hygiene intervention.
Communicable diseases are diseases that spread from person to person, accounting for nearly three quarters of all deaths (73 per cent) in Mozambique. Pneumonia (9.8 per cent) and diarrhoea (8 per cent) are in the top five leading causes of death of children under five years in Mozambique.
Hand hygiene is one of the most cost-efficient measures to prevent communicable diseases. For example, 50 per cent of diarrhoea related deaths could be prevented by handwashing with soap, while investing in a hygiene campaign could yield a 92-fold return on investment.
Access to and compliance of hand hygiene are key to preventing Covid-19 transmission, therefore it is now to focus on hygiene promotion and improve access to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services, for now and for the future.
Equitable access to WASH services in general and specifically in schools and health facilities is alarmingly low. Only 15 per cent of schools have a functional handwashing station with soap and just over half (56 per cent) of health facilities have access to basic water supply.
Achieving equitable access to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services requires; (a) developing contextualized national norms and standard for WASH services in schools, health facilities and other public spaces, (b) including WASH indicators in routine monitoring mechanisms and (c) investing in schools, health centres and other public spaces to meet these national norms and standards.
Launching a national handwashing campaign now would complement the school reopening process, reinforce compliance with hand hygiene for COVID-19 prevention and contribute to sustaining handwashing behaviours, preventing communicable diseases now and in the future.