ATLANTA, March 31 (UPI) — Teaching students in schools in the developing world about hygiene helps the whole household reduce illness, U.S. researchers said.
Lead study investigator Elizabeth Blanton of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta said poor sanitation and a lack of access to safe water contribute to an estimated 1.87 million deaths per year from devastating diseases worldwide, mostly among children age 5 and younger in the developing world.
The CDC and colleagues at the Cooperative for Assistance and Relieve Everywhere, Inc., found that the school student hygiene and water treatment education program in Kenya resulted in a 200 percent increase in household water treatment.
In addition, the hygiene education program also resulted in a 164 percent increase in proper hand-washing techniques among adults and 240 percent among students, the study said.
The study, published in the April issue of the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, further found student absenteeism decreased 26 percent after seven months.
“Perhaps most exciting is the idea that through student education we can help an entire community adopt new practices that will minimize the impact of diseases that can lead to death,” Blanton said in a statement.
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