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Interactive Intervention on Handwashing among Elementary School Children

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Objective: Handwashing has never been so relevant as today with the coronavirus disease pandemic sweeping across the world. This study was conducted to assess children's knowledge about microbe transmission and handwashing and to evaluate the effectiveness of an educational intervention about handwashing. Methods: We conducted this study in 3 elementary schools in Seattle, Washington during October-December 2015. We administered a questionnaire before and after a peer-led interactive educational intervention about handwashing. Chi-square and Kruskal-Wallis tests were used to compare responses to each survey question and the number of correct responses to the entire questionnaire pre- and post-intervention. Results: Seventy students (36 girls, 34 boys) participated in the survey (5-7 years = 30, 8-10 years = 30, 11-12 years = 10). In the pre-intervention survey, only 43% were aware of how germs are spread and only about 50% were aware about the critical times of handwashing. We noticed a statistically significant increase in knowledge to each survey question and in the number of correct responses to the entire questionnaire following the intervention. Conclusions: Our study identified important knowledge gaps about microbial transmission and handwashing in elementary school children. We showed that an educational intervention can be effective in improving knowledge about handwashing.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: May 1, 2020

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  • Health Behavior and Policy Review is a rigorously peer-reviewed scholarly bi-monthly publication that seeks manuscripts on health behavior or policy topics that represent original research, including papers that examine the development, advocacy, implementation, or evaluation of policies around specific health issues. The Review especially welcomes papers that tie together health behavior and policy recommendations. Articles are available through subscription or can be ordered individually from the Health Behavior and Policy Review site.
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