Promoting Handwashing Behavior in Peru: The Effect of Large-Scale Mass-Media and Community Level Interventions

75 Pages Posted: 20 Apr 2016

See all articles by Sebastian Galiani

Sebastian Galiani

University of Maryland - Department of Economics

Paul J. Gertler

University of California, Berkeley - Haas School of Business; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Alexandra Orsola-Vidal

University of California, Berkeley - Center for Effective Global Action (CEGA)

Date Written: November 1, 2012

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.

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

Suggested Citation

Galiani, Sebastian and Gertler, Paul J. and Orsola-Vidal, Alexandra, Promoting Handwashing Behavior in Peru: The Effect of Large-Scale Mass-Media and Community Level Interventions (November 1, 2012). World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 6257, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2170640

Sebastian Galiani (Contact Author)

University of Maryland - Department of Economics ( email )

College Park, MD 20742
United States

Paul J. Gertler

University of California, Berkeley - Haas School of Business ( email )

545 Student Services Building, #1900
2220 Piedmont Avenue
Berkeley, CA 94720
United States
510-642-1418 (Phone)
510-642-4700 (Fax)

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Alexandra Orsola-Vidal

University of California, Berkeley - Center for Effective Global Action (CEGA) ( email )

207 Giannini Hall
Berkeley, CA 94720-3310
United States

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