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Many of us take good personal hygiene and access to basic sanitation facilities such as clean water or a toilet for granted. But what happens when your access is limited? What if you do not have access to clean water or a toilet, or cannot afford hygiene products?
Personal hygiene is a problem strongly linked to education and socioeconomic development. Good hygiene practices must be guaranteed to enable universal participation in education, the workplace and the development of society as a whole.
The value of good hygiene is not restricted to basic facilities, or developing countries. Several scientific studies show the value of good hand hygiene in reducing the number of hospital acquired infections,such as MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, a bacteria that is resistant to many antibiotics), which is also a significant problem in modern healthcare is one word systems. In the US, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that there were 722,000 cases of hospital-acquired infections in the country in 2011. Of these, 75,000 patients died.
Educating children in hygiene is a good investment in their health. A joint Essity and Vinda project in Shenzhen, China, showed that good hygiene habits can reduce the risk of childhood diseases such as hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) by up to 60%.
The six-month program covered over 8,000 children and nearly 650 teachers across 18 kindergartens in Shenzhen, China. The research was conducted by the Shenzhen Centerof Disease Control and Rotterdam Erasmus University Hospital. Essity and Vinda supported the program with dispensers, soap and paper towels from Essity’s global brand Tork, as well as Vinda anti-bacterial wet wipes.
To encourage good hand hygiene habits, the teachers and children at the preschools focused on washing their hands and the children were educated about hand hygiene. They also practiced with the help of “Ella’s hand washing adventure,” an app developed for the Tork brand to teach children to wash their hands properly to remove dirt and bacteria. Evaluations of the program showed that it had been very successful.
Hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) is a common infectious disease among children between the ages of zero and six caused by enterovirus such as EV71 or CoxA16. The program indicated that good hand hygiene habits effectively reduced the risk of HFMD in children by up to 60%.