JavaScript must be enabled in order for you to use the Site in standard view. However, it seems JavaScript is either disabled or not supported by your browser. To use standard view, enable JavaScript by changing your browser options.

| Last Updated:: 21/11/2016


Hygiene is the practice of keeping yourself and your surrounding clean, especially in order to prevent illness or the spread of diseases.


Good hygiene is an important barrier to many infectious diseases, including the faeco-oral diseases, and it promotes better health and well-being. To achieve the greatest health benefits, improvements in hygiene should be made concurrently with improvements in the water supply and sanitation, and be integrated with other interventions, such as improving nutrition and increasing incomes.

The installation of a safe, plentiful and easily accessible water supply combined with adequate sanitation in a rural community will have a positive health impact only if combined with hygiene education. 

Hygiene education is crucial to increase the community's knowledge and awareness of the link between water, sanitation, hygiene and health. Hygiene education enables a behavioral change to ensure a lasting health and economic benefit from the improved water and sanitation facilities. Further hygiene education enhances appropriate utilisation, reduces recurrent cost of maintenance and improves the sustainability of the water and sanitation facilities.Seldom has any culture deeply and so consistently associated with animals and trees as that of Hinduism and Buddhism. Religious belief, mythology and folklore combined to invest them with a sanctity that was reiterated throughout the history and endures even today.


Hygiene promotion is a planned approach that aims to reduce the incidence of poor hygiene practices and conditions that pose the greatest risk to the health of children, women and men. Several hygiene promotion methodologies have been developed over time to promote hygiene. Experience with these methodologies has shown that effective hygiene promotion is based on several key principles.


  1. Target a small number of risk practices. Because changing habits is not easy, an assessment should be made to understand which risk practices are most widespread, and which can be changed. From the point of view of controlling diarrheal disease, the priorities for hygiene behavior change are likely to include hand washing with soap (or a local substitute) after contact with stools, and the safe disposal of adults' and children's stools.
  2. Target specific audiences and identify defining characteristics that affect their approach to hygiene. For example, a specific audience may include students, but students can represent different sexes, cultural groups, and social groups.
  3. Identify the motives for changed behavior. While the argument for washing hands with soap will be mainly health related, the motivation for the use of toilets often may have nothing to do with health. People may be persuaded to use a toilet so that their neighbors or classmates will respect them, or for other motives. By working with the target groups one can discover their views of the benefits of safer hygiene practices and use these as the basis for a motivational strategy.
  4. Keep hygiene messages positive. Both children and adults learn best when they laugh, and will listen more attentively if they are entertained. Hygiene promotion projects that attempt to frighten their audiences will alienate them.
  5. Identify appropriate channels of communication and understand how the target audiences communicate. For example, what proportion of each listens to the radio and attends social or religious functions? Using traditional and existing channels is easier than setting up new ones, but existing channels can only be used effectively if their nature and capacity to reach people are understood.
  6. Decide on a cost-effective mix of communication channels. When several channels send the same messages, the messages are reinforced. Be aware of the trade-off between reach, effectiveness, and cost. Mass media reach many people cheaply, but their messages may be soon forgotten. Face-to-face communication can be highly effective in encouraging behavior change, but tends to be expensive. Therefore, a hygiene promotion program will often use a mix of different channels to get the best of all.
  7. Plan, execute, monitor, and evaluate hygiene promotion carefully. At a minimum, collect information at regular intervals on the outputs and the population coverage achieved. Define and periodically assess indicators of the impact of hygiene promotion on the targeted behaviors and populations.


Source : World Bank Group, 21st November, 2016


Rural Sanitation and Hygiene Strategy 2012-2022



Source: Govt. of India, Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation


Only one third of countries estimate that hygiene promotion programmes are scaled up in primary schools



Source:2011 Global Analysis and Assessment of Sanitation and Drinking-Water (GLAAS) country survey


Percentage with High Household Hygiene Score



Percentage of respondents who wash hands 5+ times daily



Source: International hygiene study 2011 


Pneumonia and diarrhoea are among the leading killers of children worldwide



Global distribution of deaths among children under age 5, by cause, 2010


Source: Adapted from Liu and others 2012; Black and others 2008.