Am. J. Trop. Med. Hyg., 87(4), 2012, pp. 594–601
Impact of a Hygiene Curriculum and the Installation of Simple Handwashing and Drinking Water Stations in Rural Kenyan Primary Schools on Student Health and Hygiene Practices
Minal K. Patel,* Julie R. Harris, Patricia Juliao, Benjamin Nygren, Vincent Were, Steve Kola, Ibrahim Sadumah,Sitnah Hamidah Faith, Ronald Otieno, Alfredo Obure,† Robert M. Hoekstra, and Robert Quick
Epidemic Intelligence Service and Division of Foodborne, Waterborne, and Environmental Diseases,Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia; Kenya Medical Research Institute, Nairobi, Kenya;Nyando Integrated Child Health and Education (NICHE) Project, Kisumu, Kenya
School-based hygiene and water treatment programs increase student knowledge, improve hygiene, and decrease absenteeism, however health impact studies of these programs are lacking. We collected baseline information
from students in 42 schools in Kenya. We then instituted a curriculum on safe water and hand hygiene and installed water stations in half (“intervention schools”).
One year later, we implemented the intervention in remaining schools. Through biweekly student household visits and two annual surveys, we compared the effect of the intervention on hygiene practices and reported student illness. We saw improvement in proper handwashing techniques after the school program was introduced.
We observed a decrease in the median percentage of students with acute respiratory illness among those exposed to the program; no decrease in acute diarrhea was seen. Students in this school program exhibited sustained improvement in hygiene knowledge and a decreased risk of respiratory infections after the intervention.