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The Global Handwashing Partnership

Commentary: How can global guidelines support sustainable hygiene systems?

Published: November 1, 2023

Citation: Esteves Mills J, Thomas A, Abdalla N, et al. How can global guidelines support sustainable hygiene systems? BMJ Glob Health 2023;8:e013632. doi:10.1136/bmjgh-2023-013632

Summary: Hand hygiene is a cost-effective preventive measure to reduce transmission of infectious diseases. Yet, a quarter of the global population lack access to even a basic handwashing facility. Forthcoming WHO and UNICEF guidelines on hand hygiene in community settings will provide evidence-based recommendations to guide action. According to consulted future guideline end-users, sustainable implementation of such recommendations to improve hand hygiene requires government-led system-strengthening approaches that build sustainable and resilient national systems. System-strengthening plans should be underpinned by a comprehensive situational analysis and needs assessment, and monitored on an ongoing basis for course correction where necessary. Execution of system-strengthening plans should be integrated with existing programmes. Health sector leadership is required to drive this agenda.

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