There has been considerable progress in the reduction of diarrheal disease among children under five through health and nutrition interventions. However, diarrheal disease is still the second leading cause of child death worldwide. There is growing recognition that comprehensive hygiene behavior improvements should be integral to prevention efforts, but the effectiveness of different approaches for hygiene promotion is still being established. Hygiene risk practices vary across settings, suggesting that prevention strategies should be adapted to local contexts using community-based approaches. We planned, implemented, and evaluated a hygiene promotion intervention using the hygiene cluster framework. The two-year, multi-level intervention was implemented by local health promoters who were involved in identifying and addressing disease transmission risks at the household, school, and community levels. The intervention was evaluated using a quasi-experimental pretest-posttest design with repeated follow-up assessments to determine changes in hygiene knowledge and behavior. A household survey instrument was administered at three time points in the intervention ( n = 480) and comparison ( n = 271) communities to assess two hygiene knowledge and eleven hygiene behavior outcome variables. We used one-way analysis of variance with post hoc analysis using Tukey's HSD for multiple comparisons to examine change and differences over time. We also fit a linear regression model to identify statistically significant differences. Study results demonstrated improvements in the areas of: knowledge of disease transmission and key times for handwashing, water container hygiene, sanitation practices, personal hygiene and food hygiene. The hygiene cluster framework is useful for hygiene promotion intervention planning and evaluation, and we recommended continued testing of this framework across contexts. We also recommend local community participatory approaches, as well as in-depth formative behavioral assessments by hygiene cluster that also consider environmental barriers to behavior change.
Evaluating the effectiveness of a community-based hygiene promotion program in a rural Salvadoran setting