Hand hygiene in kindergartens reduces illness

Educating children in hygiene is a good investment in their health. A joint project with Vinda 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%.

Poor hand hygiene is the most common cause of infections in hospitals, but good hand hygiene can also significantly reduce the spread of infectious diseases outside the medical arena. In 2015, along with Vinda, we supported China’s first kindergarten hand hygiene intervention program, which aimed to prove how hand hygiene can protect against childhood diseases.

Good hand hygiene habits effectively reduced the risk of HFMD in children 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 Center of Disease Control and Rotterdam Erasmus University Hospital. Together with Vinda, we 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 Cox A16. The program indicated that good hand hygiene habits effectively reduced the risk of HFMD in children by up to 60%.

Read more about Essity’s educational initiatives.

kindergarten children

reduced risk of hand, foot and mouth disease

of hand-washing instruction

A chinese girl on Shenzhen is washing her hands (photo)