Background: Handwashing is well-recognized preventive tool for disease prevention. Handwashing with soap has been viewed as one of the most cost-effective ways of reducing the global infectious disease burden. Hence, the present study was conducted with an aim to study handwashing practices in rural communities.
Objectives: The objectives are as follows: (i) To assess the handwashing practices in rural areas, (ii) to identify the factors associated with handwashing practices, and (iii) to determine the association between handwashing and certain infections.
Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted among 128 respondents, residing in Kukkuwada village, Davangere Taluk. Data were collected by house to house surveys using semi-structured and pre-tested questionnaire. Data were entered into Microsoft Excel and analyzed using SPSS version 16.0.
Results: A total of 128 (44 males and 84 females) individuals participated in the study. The majority were from 21 to 40 years age-group (49.2%). All of them practiced handwashing after defecation. A majority, 80 (62.5%) were using soap and water, 12 (9.4%) used water and antiseptic solution for handwashing, and 36 (28.1%) used only water for handwashing. Handwashing practices (medium and technique) were significantly associated with history of episode of diarrhea and upper respiratory tract infection in the past 3 months.
Conclusions: Among all the study participants who practiced handwashing, majority of them used water with soap and is influenced by factors such as age, frequency of health facility visits, and previous infections. The findings were found encouraging, and we recommend measures for sustainable practice.
Handwashing; Rural Population; Infections