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Promoting handwashing behavior in Peru : the effect of large-scale mass-media and community level interventions

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  • Galiani, Sebastian
  • Gertler, Paul
  • Orsola-Vidal, Alexandra

Abstract

This paper analyzes a randomized experiment that uses novel strategies to promote handwashing with soap at critical times in Peru. It evaluates a large-scale intervention that includes a mass media provincial campaign and a district-level community component. The analysis finds that the mass media intervention alone had no significant effect on exposure to the handwashing promotion campaign messages, and therefore no effect on handwashing knowledge or handwashing behavior. In contrast, the community-level intervention, a more comprehensive intervention that included several community and school activities in addition to the communications campaign, was successful in reaching the target audience with handwashing promotion messages and in improving the knowledge of the treated population on appropriate handwashing behavior. Those improvements translated into higher self-reported and observed handwashing with soap at critical junctures. However, no significant improvements in the health of children under the age of five were observed. The results are consistent with earlier literature, which indicates that substantively changing behavior to improve health is a complex task requiring intensive and more personalized interventions.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 6257.

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Date of creation: 01 Nov 2012
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:6257

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Related research

Keywords: Health Monitoring&Evaluation; Hygiene Promotion and Social Marketing; Disease Control&Prevention; Housing&Human Habitats; Population Policies;

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  1. Abhijit V. Banerjee & Shawn Cole & Esther Duflo & Leigh Linden, 2007. "Remedying Education: Evidence from Two Randomized Experiments in India," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 122(3), pages 1235-1264, 08.
  2. Sebastian Galiani & Paul Gertler & Ernesto Schargrodsky, 2005. "Water for Life: The Impact of the Privatization of Water Services on Child Mortality," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(1), pages 83-120, February.
  3. Cattaneo, Matias D. & Galiano, Sebastian & Gertler, Paul J. & Martinez, Sebastian & Titiunik, Rocio, 2007. "Housing, health, and happiness," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4214, The World Bank.
  4. Madajewicz, Malgosia & Pfaff, Alexander & van Geen, Alexander & Graziano, Joseph & Hussein, Iftikhar & Momotaj, Hasina & Sylvi, Roksana & Ahsan, Habibul, 2007. "Can information alone change behavior? Response to arsenic contamination of groundwater in Bangladesh," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(2), pages 731-754, November.
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