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Innovative ideas about hand washing

“So that your hands are really clean, always use soapy water,” that was the motto chosen by those responsible for a public-private partnership program in Ghana that was developed during the years 2004-2006. So far, in Ghana, soap was used frequently, but especially for washing dishes, washing clothes and bathing Only 3% of the population washed their hands with soap, and 32% washed their hands only with water .

In Ghana, diarrhea causes 25% of the deaths of children under five and nine million episodes of illnesses could be avoided by washing hands with soap.

The campaign had a triple level of action: dissemination in the mass media, demonstration activities that showed the difference between clean and dirty hands and a territorial level program that included schools, health centers and communities.

The results of the campaign were really successful, six months after the start, handwashing with soap among mothers was above 80%. This handwashing program in Ghana made pollution visible to the Ghanaian public for the first time and allowed the importance of hygiene to be transmitted effectively and in response to the new communication and marketing modes prevailing.

It was important to demonstrate that public-private collaboration in these important aspects that affect health can be effective if one works with transparency and with mutual respect.