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29. Hygiene promotion

Last update: 2022-09-14


  • You promote hygiene when you talk to people in your community about hygiene and sanitation, and about diseases that can be controlled by following recommended hygiene and sanitation practices. These diseases include, for example, cholera, diarrhoea, typhoid, and hepatitis E. 
  • Hygiene promotion covers four main areas: personal hygiene, domestic (or environmental) hygiene, water hygiene and food hygiene.

What you can do to promote hygiene

Water hygiene
  • If possible, always use a protected water source (such as a deep hand-pump well with a concrete apron). 
  • Treat water from all other sources. Use chemicals, a ceramic or other filter, or boil water that is for drinking and cooking. 
  • Cover water containers so that dust, insects and rodents cannot get in. 
  • Use a cup or big spoon (not hands) to serve water from the container. 
  • Wash water storage containers regularly.
  • For information on how to keep water clean and safe, see Action tool Clean, safe household water.
Food hygiene
  • Food can spread germs and diseases if it is not well cooked or if it is dirty. 
  • Food can be contaminated by dirty hands, flies, dirty utensils or contaminated water.
  • Cook animal products thoroughly, including meat and eggs, to kill germs.
  • Wash vegetables and fruits thoroughly with clean water. 
  • Wash utensils (plates, forks, knives, etc.) with clean water and soap. Use a rack for drying dishes. 
  • See Action tool Good food hygiene.
Personal hygiene
  • Wash your hands with soap after using the toilet and handling children’s stools (faeces), and before preparing food, eating or breastfeeding.
  • Wash your face every day with water and soap. 
  • Clean your teeth every day. 
  • Keep your clothes clean. 
  • Keep your fingernails short. 
  • Women and girls, use clean, dry materials of your choice (disposable or reusable) when you menstruate. Change the materials and bathe as often as needed. Do not share pads with anyone else.
Domestic (environmental) hygiene
  • Use a latrine and keep it clean. Plan in advance what you will do when the pit is full.
  • Dispose of baby and child stools (faeces) safely in the latrine.
  • Keep your house, backyard and community free of animal waste and rubbish.
  • Keep your community and backyard free of standing water. (Mosquitoes breed in standing water.) 
  • If no rubbish removal service exists, bury or burn rubbish. Recycle as much as possible.

What you can do

  • Have a conversation with members of your community about hygiene. Include women, community leaders, caregivers and decision-makers. Make sure they understand that good hygiene is important and can stop the spread of disease. 
  • Familiarize yourself with the ways in which people collect water, store food and water, dispose of rubbish, wash themselves and use latrines. 
  • Seek out households where people are sick. Help these households to identify risky hygiene practices and change their behaviour. 
  • Show people in your community how to build simple handwashing facilities, such as a “tippy-tap”. 
  • Be a good role model for others in your community. Use a clean latrine, dispose of your rubbish, wash your hands often. 
  • Find out if you can work with local health centres and schools to improve their hygiene and sanitation. You might hold a hygiene session for students or teachers, or help the clinic to build a handwashing station and outside latrine for patients.Social distancing

                                                              Wash hands properly with soap.