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Hand washing products and hygiene promotion in rural Vietnam: A case study of the COVID-19 Response in the WOBA Vietnam project

This report investigates the extent to which distribution of handwashing devices facilitate and promote handwashing and hygiene behaviour

In alignment with the Vietnamese government’s response to COVID-19 and the World Health Organisation’s recommendations, Thrive Networks/ East Meets West Foundation (EMW from here onward) supported the provincial efforts to prevent COVID-19 transmission at the local level through the implementation of a COVID-19 Response project (Phase 1) from May to July 2020 as part of the WOBA Vietnam project. The main implementation activities include (1) distribution of 1,672 portable hand washing basins to 172 (previously 173 but 2 communes merged to 172) commune health stations, 172 kindergartens, 980 disadvantaged (GESI) households in 5 provinces (Hoa Binh, Thanh Hoa, Nghe An, Ha Tinh, Ben Tre); (2) distribution of plastic water tanks to 200 poor plus GESI households in Ben Tre province to store clean water and harvest rainwater for hygienic practices; and (3) promotion of hand washing and hygienic practices in the five provinces by the Vietnamese Women’s Union (WU) in collaboration with the Commune Project Management Boards.

Using a a mixed method case study approach, the study demonstrates positive impacts of the WU promotion, with “confidence in knowing how to wash hands properly” reported as most significant impact. Furthermore, it echoes findings of literature on factors that influence effectiveness of behavioural change communication, including (1) length and frequency of the promotion; (2) the combination of short messages with visual cues; and (3) status of the promoters. 

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