Water, Sanitation and Hygiene - WASH

Improving Hygiene Practice using a Mobile Phone-Based Platform: The case in Bangladesh

Improving Hygiene Practice using a Mobile Phone-Based Platform: The case in Bangladesh
  • Paper based
  • 1200
  • Gaibandha

Principal Investigator

Dr. Abu S Shonchoy

Dr. Chikako Yamauchi

Dr. Resmaan Hussam

Project Area

Gaibandha, Bangladesh

Project Description

Improved hygiene practices have direct links with reduction of diarrheal incidents and other water-borne diseases (like impetigo). Simple practices of washing hands with soaps (especially after toilets and before meal), wearing footwear, avoidance of open defecation and proper water treatment and preservation have proven impacts on health outcome. But unfortunately, in Bangladesh like other developing countries this simple preventative health and hygiene habits are substantial, take-up is negligible. Very negligible percent of people showed by UNICEF 2011 who used these preventative measures to improve health outcome were only 54.7. This statistic is considerably lower in remote rural, such as River Island in Northern Bangladesh, locally known as ‘Chars’. Many studies found, little to no effect of traditional hygiene campaigns on the hygiene related behavioral changes of people.

Lacking diversity and innovation of traditional hand washing movement, one potential way to design a more effective campaign that may induce large scale of behavioral changes through the use of mass communication visual media.

Considering the above issue, Dr. Abu S Shonchoy, Dr. Resmaan Hussam and Dr. Chikako Yamauchi is jointly conducting a research work in Northern Bangladesh based on Randomized Control Trial (RCT) design.

We in a partner collaboration with Yale University and National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS) implementing the project.

With the rise of cellular phone users in Bangladesh, the mobile phone based platform has become useful vehicle for providing various services to poorer and remote populations. One potential but untapped avenue of mobile phone is providing hygiene information through visual media.

In this study, researchers intend to imply mobile phone based platform to enable people to view digital contents of hygiene related awareness information in the midst of their desired entertainment videos directly on their mobile phones-in the form of cartoons, adverts, dramas and clippings.

The study proceeds in two stages: first, we establish a proof of concept of the impact of this innovative information delivery system on hygiene (particularly hand washing behavior; second, we explore (1) variation in the subsequent frequency (timing) and intensity of these media stimuli and (2) the use of existing social groups (microcredit groups, self-help groups, neighbors and school classmate) to build upon lessons learned through initial media campaign

Adherence to regular hygiene practices is often regarded as a socially responsible and respectable behavior, while neglecting proper hygiene can be perceived as unclean or unsanitary, and may be considered socially unacceptable or disrespectful, while also posing a risk to public health.

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