Talk:Hand washing

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History Section Needed - made a start[edit]

This article desperately needs a history section. Hand washing played a major historical role in the development of the modern germ theory of disease. I thinking mostly of the work by Ignaz Semmelweis. I don't think the current generation appreciates how devastating bad hygiene was on health before germs were understood(and still is in third-world countries!). Some historical numbers indicating the impact of hand washing belongs in this article. (talk) 18:16, 3 May 2013 (UTC)

I agree with you and have made a start on this. I hope others will help by adding more information and high quality references.EvM-Susana (talk) 21:06, 18 April 2015 (UTC)

More references needed towards situation in developing countries - lack of handwashing kills children[edit]

When I have the time, I would like to add more information about the relevance of handwashing for the situation in developing countries. Some information from the article on Global Handwashing Day could also be used for this (simple intervention to reduce pneumonia and diarrhoea for example).EvM-Susana (talk) 14:59, 4 March 2015 (UTC)

I have copied some information across from the article on Global Handwashing Day regarding health impacts in developing countries. More is needed. I also added "developing countries" as a sub-heading in the history section. Would it be better to have a dedicated sub-heading (Level 1) just for developing countries? Probably not. But I would still like to see some information being added about simple handwashing devices or group handwashing activities in schools.EvM-Susana (talk) 21:09, 18 April 2015 (UTC)
I have just added some more information about low-cost handwashing devices in developing countries. More work still needed, e.g. on the group handwashing activities in schools.EvM-Susana (talk) 12:46, 9 June 2015 (UTC)

Cost effectiveness[edit]

Apparently there is a lack of information about the cost-effectiveness of handwashing progammes, however I am told there is a well known WB review from 2006 which I have added as a table. If anyone finds a more recent review, this would be interesting information to include. JMWt (talk) 10:03, 10 June 2015 (UTC)

Great! I like the table, but am just wondering if it contains a bit much jargon (add hyperlinks for the different interventions?). Is the term "intervention" easy to understand? Should this perhaps be moved into a dedicated section about developing countries because it doesn't have relevance for countries of the North? The average reader might be confused otherwise what we mean here with cost effectiveness as the rest of the article deals more with medical aspects (except for the parts on developing countries that I recently added). The issues are a bit different for countries of the global North and South, I think (although some are the same).EvM-Susana (talk) 12:23, 10 June 2015 (UTC)
Hum, I'm not sure where it is best to go or how to format it. I think it might be a bit cluttered if there are wikilinks to all the terms, but then I hadn't really thought about how easy it is to understand (or how easy to be misunderstood - obviously the costs cannot apply to every handwashing programme, they are just averages). On the other hand, I think it is important to illustrate that at least some think that handwashing is a cost-effective health intervention system. JMWt (talk) 12:28, 10 June 2015 (UTC)

Wikipedia Primary School invitation[edit]

Hi everybody. On behalf of the teams behind the Wikipedia Primary School research project, I would like to announce that this article was selected a while ago to be reviewed by an external expert. We'd now like to ask interested editors to join our efforts and improve the article before September 15, 2015 (any timezone) as they see fit; a revision will be then sent to the designated expert for review. Any notes and remarks written by the external expert will be made available on this page under a CC-BY-SA license as soon as possible, so that you can read them, discuss them and then decide if and how to use them. Please sign up here to let us know you're collaborating. Thanks a lot for your support! --Elitre (WPS) (talk) 13:33, 27 August 2015 (UTC)

Hi, Elitre (WPS), that sounds great!! I am only wondering about your choice of external expert for this page. He's probably great in terms of IT and communications but from a quick read of his page, I couldn't see much on hand washing, just wondering what the selection criteria were? I guess one doesn't need to be an expert on handwashing to improve this page, but if you are looking for a well-known expert on handwashing, I would recommend Hanna Woodburn (see e.g. here). Mind you, I have already asked her and she said she didn't have time but perhaps she can recommend someone. Not sure if the external experts get paid for their time or if it's a voluntary contribution from their side? EvM-Susana (talk) 14:34, 27 August 2015 (UTC)
Hello EvM-Susana! Thanks for your note. Simone does have some expertise on the subject. He's worked on a project re: water sanitation & hygiene, see He didn't only follow the IT part, but the contents as well. Thank you so much for suggesting Hanna Woodburn's name: while we'd like to move forward with Simone's review, I wonder whether she or others would be interested in other articles, listed here? (I need to update that list soon, to strike out the ones for which we already have an agreement in place. Experts participate as volunteers, as in most peer reviews' scenarios). HTH! --Elitre (WPS) (talk) 12:25, 3 September 2015 (UTC)
I'd be interested to hear if any expert actually evaluated this page, because the quality of some of the references is very low - broken links, poor quality website as ref, poorly formatted refs etc. Currently fixing the worst examples. JMWt (talk) 07:43, 30 September 2015 (UTC)
Thanks for making these edits!! Pity that the handwashing experts from PPPHW - Global Public-Private Partnership for Handwashing with Soap (for example) are not taking more interest in this page. EvM-Susana (talk) 08:39, 30 September 2015 (UTC)
I hear you Susana. Well, we are currently waiting for Simone review. I will keep you updated. Whether we get Simone review or not, we could contact Hanna Woodbury afterwards. Anthere (talk)

Review within the Wikipedia Primary School project[edit]

Sala Hand washing.pdf

Hi all. As anticipated, some weeks ago Simone Sala agreed to review this article within the scope of the project linked above. You can find his notes in the PDF I just uploaded to Commons. We'd like to thank Simone Sala for his work and for his helpful notes. We invite everybody to feel free to reuse the review to improve the article and/or to comment it here. Best, Anthere (talk) 19:32, 9 February 2016 (UTC)

Thanks for this structured review! Very nice work. Hopefully this will prompt some people to improve this page further; I will try to do my bit, too. EvMsmile (talk) 02:40, 26 February 2016 (UTC)

To facilitate the editing process, I copied Simone Sala notes below.

Quality of the Summary[edit]

Is the summary of the article a complete, thorough, and concise introduction to the topic? How do you think the summary could be improved? Which meaningful data are missing? Is there something that you find too much detailed for a general overview of the topic?

The summary is complete. Reference related to CDC statement is missing and should be inserted. Some of the global figures (available in the “public health” section) could be moved here to provide the reader with some data on hand washing practices.
The cultural references may be too much detailed for the introduction, since there is a separate section related to them.

I have removed the CDC statement as this is from the section of their website relating to sanitation on cruise ships. If we're going to use this kind of quote, we're going to have to find a better source on the CDC website. JMWt (talk) 10:00, 10 February 2016 (UTC)
Generally speaking I agree that the lead could be improved, although we might need to think about which figures to include. I'm of two minds about the cultural practices - it seems important to mention, but then maybe it is too detailed. JMWt (talk) 10:09, 10 February 2016 (UTC)

Structure and style of the article[edit]

Is the article properly presenting the topic for a general public? Does the article provide a complete and easy-to-navigate structure? Which paragraph would you add, unify or split into different parts? Please provide a list of suggestions. Is the article well written and understandable at a high school level?

The article is well written, adequately presents the topic to a general audience, and can be understood at a high school level. The navigation structure is clear and complete. Six citations are missing, and should be inserted.

Some of the citations were broken, which I have now tried to repair, but I don't think there were six "missing". I'm not sure what this means. JMWt (talk) 10:01, 10 February 2016 (UTC)
I saw some citation needed in the article. He probably referred to that. Anthere (talk)


Is the article comprehensive of major facts related to the topic? Is the article adequately placing the subject in context? What does it miss? Please provide a list of topics you think should be included in the article (suggestions must be related to bibliography). Do you find that some arguments are not meaningful or representative of the topic for a general public. What should be deleted? Please explain why.

The article includes all the major facts related to the topic, and adequately places the subject in context.
There is a paragraph on hand washing in developing countries, though the article would benefit from having a sub-sections with policies and case studies from other countries as well.
I think that all the topics are meaningful and representatives for a general public.

International and local dimension[edit]

Is the article neutral (it presents general and acknowledged views fairly and without bias)? Is the article representative of the international dimension and consolidated research about the topic? If applicable, does the article feature examples from all over the world (no localisms)? Please draft a list of what is missing with related references.

The article is neutral, and representative of the international dimension and research about the topic. Nonetheless, further examples should be inserted to describe the status of hand washing policies and practices in industrial and post-industrial countries and regions. See for example for references: Hand Hygiene programs in Australia:; and Hand Hygiene programs and European Union

I don't really agree with this statement. The EU document is just a policy saying that hand hygiene is important. I don't see that this adds anything to this page. The Australian page is potentially more useful as it gives more advice, but even here I'm not entirely clear what this is adding to the page. Do we want a list of national handwashing initiatives here? JMWt (talk) 10:06, 10 February 2016 (UTC)
I rather agree with you.
The points that bother me a bit in the article is
1) that the historical part is quite short and would probably benefit from being expanded. Surely, there has been more than the original belief, the doctor and then the flu outbreak. I know that paragraph is not satisfying my desire on the matter.
2) the specific section about Developing countries and the fact awareness campaigns are only mentioned in that very paragraph. With regards to the Developing countries situation, the points raised at the beginning of the paragraph are actually fairly well described in the above sections (about the material, soap versus water etc.) so it reads like repetition. Second, awareness campaigns did not only occur in Developing countries. I wonder if it might not make sense to transform the "developing countries" paragraph in a paragraph about "Hand Washing Awareness", which would include the 3 star system but also the whole campaign we have seen in the past couple of years in developed countries when the bird flu outbreak occurred. Anthere (talk)

References (essential to allow the articles to be improved)[edit]

Is the list of publications comprehensive and updated? Does it list the fundamental monographs and papers? Please provide primary/generic and secondary/original resources which need to be included and suggest the list of publications which should be removed.

The publications are adequately updated. Fundamental monographs and papers are available.
Further publications describing the status of hand washing practices in industrial and post-industrial countries should be included as per the recommendation provided in section 4 of the review.

What page supports?[edit]

"based on 'The Ayliffe Technique' developed by Graham Ayliffe et al (2000)[1]"

Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 19:46, 3 March 2016 (UTC)

Information about ash in the lead[edit]

User:Doc James you had deleted the recently added word "ash" from the lead. I have now put it back in but into context. I think it's good to have this in the lead (it comes later in the article, too), therefore making this article more globally applicable - there are still many people in this world who cannot easily go to a tap to wash their hands with water. OK like this? Further work is needed. EvMsmile (talk) 14:33, 1 March 2017 (UTC)

Thanks User:EvMsmile. Ref looks good. Have adjusted some and linked the term ash. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 14:42, 1 March 2017 (UTC)
Thanks, however you User:Doc James have removed this part "low-income areas of developing countries" - I think this is important because a developing countries also has many households with ample tap water available! Ask anyone in India, Brazil or Kenya. Hence the qualifier. Could also be rural areas, informal settlements, slums etc. - but in any case we cannot say here developing countries in general. EvMsmile (talk) 22:33, 1 March 2017 (UTC)
Sure. I do not think we need both minor spelling differences in the first sentence. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 01:00, 2 March 2017 (UTC)

Just a remark on DIN EN 1500 in hand disinfection illustration...[edit]

Hi EMsmile! Thanks for your edit to the figure caption of the illustration "Hand disinfection" in the article "Hand washing". Personally, I don't mind if the DIN EN 1500 is mentioned or not. I just wanted to draw the attention to the following: AFAIK, the DIN EN 1500 was originally not intended for describing everyday hand disinfection, e.g. by health care professionals. It was developed to describe a standardized procedure for testing of hand disinfectants. Testers were required to adhere to this procedure so that the results (e.g. remaining bacteria on hands) could be compared between different suppliers. The DIN EN 1500 then became an almost standard in hand disinfection in German hospitals, although it was never developed to this end. By mentioning the DIN EN 1500 below the illustration, I wanted to give a hint to the source of this procedure, so that the reader could find the origin if they wanted to. Unfortunately I couldn't find a link to the original text of the DIN that is freely available (seems that this DIN text has to be bought). What do you think? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Guido4 (talkcontribs) 17:09, 1 November 2017 (UTC)

Ah, I see. How about we say "According to the German standard DIN EN 1500 for xxx". I just find DIN EN 1500 on its own too cryptic. EMsmile (talk) 17:19, 1 November 2017 (UTC)
Agree a little cryptic. Doc James (talk · contribs · email) 19:39, 1 November 2017 (UTC)
Done. I have put this back into the caption: "According to the German standard DIN EN 1500" EMsmile (talk) 21:35, 16 November 2017 (UTC)


User:PlanetCare tried to make the article more readable but made some errors along the way, I partially reverted his edit. Uziel302 (talk) 10:35, 19 November 2017 (UTC)

Thanks, Uziel302. Your edits inspired me to make further edits. I moved two sentences from the lead to the main article as they were not so relevant that they needed to be in the lead. Also I moved public health information to the section about public health (formerly buried about "medical" which I see more as information about healthcare settings). EMsmile (talk) 09:54, 5 December 2017 (UTC)

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  1. ^ "WHO Guidelines on Hand Hygiene in Healthcare" (PDF). Retrieved 3 March 2016.