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The Global Handwashing Partnership

The State of Handwashing in 2015: An Annual Research Summary

Published: January 27, 2016

A recent Lancet paper ranked handwashing in 21st place as a leading cause of Disability-Adjusted Life Years (DALYs) globally, stating: “The finding that no handwashing with soap is a global risk present in all regions is a reminder that this nexus of risks is relevant to all countries, not just the poorest.”

As such, it is important that we continue to seek to both learn more about handwashing and apply the latest evidence to programs in meaningful ways. In this summary, we outline key themes and findings from 44 peer-reviewed handwashing-related research papers published globally in 2015 and specifically relevant in low and middle-income countries.

These findings can be categorized by five key themes:

  • Benefits of handwashing with soap
  • Measuring handwashing behavior
  • Approaches to handwashing behavior change
  • Handwashing station sustainability
  • Handwashing in the emergency setting

The first half of this summary explores the overarching findings in each thematic area and includes useful resources where relevant. The second half outlines specific data and context.

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