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International Health Agencies Target Hand Washing

June 30, 2010: 04:10 AM EST
With over 2 million children under five each year dying of diarrheal disease caused by dirty hands, international health agencies are looking at ways in which they can encourage better sanitation in developing countries, including drawing on the experience of consumer product marketers. People often don’t do what is good for them, even if they know it is, but UNICEF has seen encouraging signs from using visual tools like glitter to show kids how easy it is for germs to spread. Other agencies have set up water stations and provided disinfectant to make it easier for kids to keep their hands clean. And agencies are partnering with companies like Procter & Gamble and Unilever to try to promote hand washing as a positive action. One study, funded by P&G, found that hand washing increases significantly after intervention, and this also helps reduce absenteeism from illness.
Eliza Barclay, "Glittery Marketing Boosts Hand-Washing Efforts", National Geographic , June 30, 2010, © National Geographic Society
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