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TitleEvaluation of a pre-existing, 3-year household water treatment and handwashing intervention in rural Guatemala
Publication TypeJournal Article
AuthorsArnold, B, Arana, B, Mausezahl, D, Hubbard, A, Colford, JM
PaginationP. 1651b - 1661; 6 tab.
Keywordsguatemala, hand washing, household appliances, rural areas, rural communities, sustainability, water treatment

The promotion of household water treatment and handwashing with soap has led to large reductions in child diarrhoea in randomized efficacy trials. Currently, we know little about the health
effectiveness of behaviour-based water and hygiene interventions after the conclusion of intervention activities. Presented is an extension of previously published design (propensity score matching) and analysis (targeted maximum likelihood estimation) methods to evaluate the behavioural and health impacts of a pre-existing but non-randomized intervention (a 3-year, combined household water treatment and handwashing campaign in rural Guatemala). Six months after the intervention, we conducted a cross-sectional cohort study in 30 villages (15 intervention and 15 control) that included 600 households, and 929 children <5 years of age. The study design created a sample of intervention and control villages that were comparable across more than 30 potentially confounding characteristics. The intervention led to modest gains in confirmed water treatment behaviour [risk difference¼0.05, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.02–0.09]. We found, however, no difference between the intervention and control villages in self-reported handwashing behaviour, spot-check hygiene conditions, or the prevalence of
child diarrhoea, clinical acute lower respiratory infections or child growth. To our knowledge this is the first post-intervention follow-up study of a combined household water treatment and handwashing behaviour change intervention, and the first post-intervention follow-up of either intervention type to include child health measurement. The lack of child health impacts is consistent with unsustained behaviour adoption. Our findings highlight the difficulty of implementing behaviour-based household water treatment and handwashing outside of intensive efficacy trials. [authors abstract]

Noteswith 36 references
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