The Effect of a Comprehensive Handwashing Program on Absenteeism in Elementary Schools
Absences reduced 50.6% lower in test group
Maryellen E. Guinan
Maryanne McGuckin-Guinan, DrScEd, MT(ASCP)
Yusuf Ali, PhD
Handwashing is one of the most important factors in controlling the spread of micro-organisms and in preventing the development of infections. The objective of this study was to determine the effectiveness of a comprehensive handwashing program on absenteeism in elementary grades. Two hundred ninety students from 5 independent schools were enrolled in the study. Each test classroom had a control classroom, and only the test classroom received the intervention (education program and hand sanitizer). Absenteeism data were collected for 3 months.
The number of absences was 50.6% lower in the test group (P < .001). The data strongly suggest that a hand hygiene program that combines education and use of a hand sanitizer in the classroom can lower absenteeism and be cost-effective.
Am J Infect Control. 2002; 30: 217-20