Getting people to wash their hands is difficult but can a product help?

We know from our own experience in the UK that getting people to wash their hands – in hospitals for example – is an uphill struggle. The rise in hospital-acquired infections and MRSA is a sad testament to this.

But have you noticed how techniques used in UK hospitals have changed in recent over the years? The signs reminding you to wash your hands have got smaller but they have the tools to the job right next to them. There must reason for this. And it’s pretty obvious that you are more likely to disinfect your hands if you are given the gel to do it.

Hand washing sign on floor - google Hand washing sign with soap - google
A simple reminder sign vs a reminder sign with antiseptic gel | Image credits: Tim Ireland/PA and PA Archive/Press Association Images

Surely then the same will apply to campaigns to encourage hand washing in developing countries. Will beautifully designed signs or catchy tunes and videos urging you to wash your hands do the trick? Hint: these techniques weren’t very effective in UK hospitals.


Our Kit Yamoyo contains a small bar of soap and women are told to use it to wash their hands before preparing the ORS solution and guess what we found in our midline survey? More than 90% of mothers who used Kit Yamoyo did.


A note on the data in this post
Cited data are interim results from the midline evaluation and do not reflect the final report. Final calculations may vary.



  1. Monika Tobler says

    Dear Simon

    Hand washing has been the biggest challenge we had in terms of producing reliable data. As far as we know now, apparently only structured observation (sitting in the household during hours to observe their behavior) or testing the hands for bacteria in the desired moment produces somewhat reliable results. But even this is not unquestionable. Here some food for thoughts on that:
    Certainly there are many more studies available.
    Even if I would need to see your data to believe the 90% you found, I think that having the soap in the Kit is really great!

    Best wishes,

  2. Auldridge Chibbwalu says

    Aweosme and this will mean curbing the diseases etc in these poor communities.