9 AM EST, Feb 16 Webinar: WASHing Away Diseases, Two Hands at a Time

WASH NTDs webinar

On February 18 at 9:00 AM EST, please join the Global Public-Private Partnership for Handwashing and the USAID/WASHplus project for a webinar discussing why water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) matter to neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), and addressing the need for new approaches for multi-sector initiatives to promote equity, poverty alleviation, health, and well-being.

Register here today!

Featuring experts from WaterAid, Sightsavers, the FHI 360-led USAID/WASHplus project, and USAID, this webinar is an excellent opportunity for those working in both WASH and NTDs to learn about the global landscape of WASH/NTD strategy and glean practical insights from projects that are operating in this context.

This webinar will include brief presentations on:

  • The link between WASH and NTDs
  • How we can work together to achieve common goals through the World Health Organization’s Joint WASH-NTD strategy; and
  • Integration in practice.

About the panelists:

  • Renuka Bery, MPH, Senior Program Manager for the USAID/WASHplus project, has an extensive background in WASH integration.
  • Sophie Boisson, PhD, Technical Officer for Water, Sanitation, Hygiene and Health at the World Health Organization (invited).
  • Edouard Tianhoun, RN, MSc, WASH-NTD Coordinator for the USAID/WASHplus Burkina Faso pilot project, has been in involved in WASH programs in his native Burkina Faso since 2011.
  • Yael Velleman, MSc, Senior Policy Analyst on Health and Sanitation, leads WaterAid’s strategy, advocacy, and research agenda on health.
  • Merri Weinger, MPH, Senior Environmental Health Advisor at USAID’s Bureau for Global Health, has over 30 years of experience in health programs at USAID, WHO, and PAHO.
  • Geordie Woods, MPH, Technical Adviser-NTDs at Sightsavers, specializes in health behavior and strategic communication with a technical focus that includes NTDs and WASH.

Following the presentations there will be a Question & Answer session.

Register now!

Good Handwashing Key to a Healthy Holiday Season

by The Global Public-Private Partnership for Handwashing (PPPHW)

WASHINGTON, D.C. – December 17, 2014. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently warned that this year’s flu season might be particularly severe, and some states are already reporting spikes in influenza. With the holidays also in full swing, the Global Public-Private Partnership for Handwashing (PPPHW) and the American Cleaning Institute are taking this opportunity to remind the public about a simple, affordable way to promote health this holiday season and throughout the year: handwashing with soap.

According to Dr. Layla McCay, Secretariat Director for the PPPHW, “Handwashing with soap can protect us from a wide range of illnesses by preventing the spread of germs, including the influenza virus. Washing our hands with soap helps us all fight influenza and stay healthy.”

Nancy Bock, Senior Vice President, Education at the American Cleaning Institute adds that “Families are concerned about staying healthy during the holiday season. Handwashing is especially vital during this busy time of the year with shopping and social events, many of which include food. Our message is simple: Frequent handwashing is one easy way to help prevent the spread of germs.”

To wash hands properly, wet hands with clean, running water (warm or cold) and apply soap, either in bar or liquid form. Rub hands together to make a lather and scrub them well; be sure to scrub the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails. Do this away from running water, so the lather isn’t washed away. Continue rubbing your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice. Rinse your hands well under running water. Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.

The critical times for handwashing are after using the bathroom or changing a diaper and before contact with food, but it is also advisable to wash hands after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. You should also wash your hands more frequently when you or someone in your home is sick and anytime your hands are visibly dirty.

As you exchange gifts this year make sure you aren’t also exchanging germs. Wash your hands with soap thoroughly and regularly.

About the Global Public Public-Private Partnership for Handwashing

The Global Public-Private Partnership aims to give families, schools, and communities in developing countries the power to prevent diarrhea and respiratory infections by supporting the universal promotion and practice of proper handwashing with soap at critical times.

About the American Cleaning Institute

The American Cleaning Institute® (ACI) is the Home of the U.S. Cleaning Products Industry™ and represents the $30 billion U.S. cleaning products market. ACI members include the formulators of soaps, detergents, and general cleaning products used in household, commercial, industrial and institutional settings; companies that supply ingredients and finished packaging for these products; and oleochemical producers. ACI (www.cleaninginstitute.org) and its members are dedicated to improving the health and quality of life of consumers through sustainable cleaning products and practices.

PPPHW Applauds The Passage Of The Water For The World Act

The Global Public-Private Partnership for Handwashing lauds the passage of the Senator Paul Simon Water for the World Act of 2014. Passed by unanimous consent by the United States Senate on December 15, 2014, the Water for the World Act will improve the U.S. government’s water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) programs.

Access to improved WASH undergirds many other vital areas of global health and development—including maternal and newborn health, nutrition, education, and equity for women and girls. As such, the U.S. government’s response to global WASH challenges is particularly important. The Water for the World Act modifies the 2005 Senator Paul Simon Water for the Poor Act and will strengthen the U.S. government’s WASH programs through ensuring increased collaboration, integration, and monitoring. It will also ensure that countries and regions most in need of improved WASH are specifically targeted for program provision. Notably, the bill also specifically commits to improving hygiene alongside water and sanitation.

“The strong bi-partisan support for the Water for the World Act demonstrates what we already know—that water, sanitation, and hygiene are universal human rights issues, regardless of political persuasion,” says Hanna Woodburn, Deputy Secretariat Director for the Global Public-Private Partnership for Handwashing. “We applaud this meaningful step in the right direction. However, in a world where 1.7 children die from diarrhea annually, girls drop out of school due to an inability to manage their period with dignity, and 2.5 billion people don’t have access to a toilet, it is clear that more must be done. We now call upon the global community to further access to WASH by prioritizing these life-saving services in the Post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals.”

See more at: http://globalhandwashing.org/news/ppphw-applauds-passage-water-world-act#sthash.c6MAuwja.dpuf

Hand Washing and the Science of Habit: A Webinar

Hand Washing and the Science of Habit: A Webinar

On December 4, WASHplus and the global Public Private Partnership for Handwashing (PPPHW) co-hosted a webinar with David Neal, Ph.D., from Catalyst Behavior Sciences and the University of Miami. Dr. Neal is a social psychologist specializing in behavior change and the advanced measurement of human decision making.  He discussed the usefulness of habit theory for health programming targeting households. Although he emphasized ways to apply the basic science of habit and behavior change to real world health interventions and program delivery, with a focus on behavior change for handwashing with soap, his ideas are relevant to anyone working on behavior change activities. The webinar was well attended by nearly 200 participants from 15 countries with more than 1,000 subsequent views. The countries included: Bhutan, Cambodia, Canada, India, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines, Uzbekistan, and Zambia. A recording of the webinar and slides are available here.  

Update from UNGA and TEDMED: Handwashing, Partnerships, Integration and Innovation

by Layla McCay

Cropped_headshot_reasonably_smallAbout the author: Dr. Layla McCay is the Director of the Public Private Partnership for Handwashing (PPPHW) Secretariat, housed at FHI 360. The USAID-funded WASHPlus Project supports the PPPHW in its efforts to promote handwashing and hygiene improvement. Follow Layla on Twitter: @LaylaMcCay

Partnerships and integration were the buzz words surrounding the UN General Assembly in New York in September. The Public Private Partnership for Handwashing secretariat delved into the deluge of international development players, with the purpose of seeking opportunities for handwashing, and learning about current issues in partnerships for international development.

A key message being reiterated in the development community over the course of UN General Assembly week is that as a community, we are becoming ‘post-public-private-divide’. There is increasing appreciation of the synergies and complementary roles of the different sectors, and an appetite to bring all players together to maximize impact. While that can be easier said than done, tendencies to either sanctify or vilify different sectors or particular players were deemed outdated; instead, the focus this September was on the benefits of working together to inspire and drive better practices all around. In terms of business, there was recognition that social good is starting to move out of the CSR/philanthropy departments to become business as usual, a business investment in efficiency and sustainability – which means we should expect more public-private partnering. Indeed, looking towards the successors to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are expected to be key drivers of the multi-sector partnerships that will be needed to deliver them.

Another persistent message during ‘UNGA’ was the importance of integration, as opposed to programming in silos. In the context of handwashing, this means exploring opportunities to integrate handwashing programs ‘horizontally’ into a range of sectors, such as sanitation, nutrition, maternal and child health, healthcare, HIV/AIDS, education, gender empowerment, economic development… but also considering how to integrate ‘vertically’, across the enabling environment, including investment in infrastructure and the social determinants of health. This approach is about harnessing the power of cross-sectoral partnerships to address a range of development challenges being experienced by a population, rather than focusing on single issues. It was striking how many of our development colleagues believed the barrier to meaningful, strategic integration was not just the practicalities of integrating on the ground, but the ‘single issue’ nature of funding for international development. For example, investing in school uniforms may help girls attend school – but to keep them in school, investing in menstrual hygiene materials and facilities may be needed too, but these two interventions may have entirely different funders and programs. The “celebrity couple” of nutrition and hygiene came up repeatedly, with the implication that this “couple” should think about taking their relationship to the next level, with greater integration of nutrition and hygiene work.

Integration across sectors for health promotion was also a theme at the TEDMED conference, which I got the opportunity to attend in September. You can read my general write-up of the whole event here. In terms of food for thought regarding handwashing, there was a compelling discussion about refreshing and diversifying messaging for health promotion. Using the example of breastfeeding promotion, one speaker noted that messages about breastfeeding for babies’ health are important but as these messages become increasingly familiar to people, they (a) risk losing their impact, and (b) only engage a subset of people. However by diversifying the messages to also make breastfeeding a women’s health issue, and a heart health issue (focusing on how breastfeeding reduces the mother’s risk of obesity and heart disease), new lines of engagement are opened, with the opportunity for new champions, new messages, new incentives, greater reach, more targeted appeal, and hopefully more uptake of the behavior. There may be useful lessons for diversifying hygiene messages to expand impact.

My first experience of seeing a ‘celebrity handwashing champion’ in action came in the form of Kajol, at Unilever’s Help a Child Reach 5 hygiene event with USAID. Her messages were simple, but her presence created a clear buzz. In addition to the keen interest of press in the room, some of whom told me they were there specifically to see her, it was interesting to see Kajol’s legions of fan clubs and fans around the world picking up and retweeting her handwashing messages (a tweet I sent about her reached over 100,000 people). This was an interesting insight into the potential reach of handwashing promotion messages from strategically selected and deployed celebrity champions.

Finally, the use of technology to improve hygiene is always an interesting question, and it tends to come up on these forward-looking platforms. It was inspiring, for example, to see examples from Unilever and MAMA of how mobile phones can be used to deliver hygiene education directly to pregnant women. At TEDMED, there was also some interesting discussion about crowdfunding health – using the web to set up facilities like Kickstarter to enable the public to directly fund specific health interventions in specific places. With the Millennials embracing this sort of targeted giving, there could be some interesting opportunities for crowdfunding hygiene in future. Throughout the events, there was significant talk about harnessing the voice, experiences, ideas, and energy of youth to drive progress.