Planning health promotion interventions report Essay Example

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6Proper hand Washing

Proper Hand washing

Proper hand washing is one of the global health issues whose importance should be over emphasized globally. Proper hand washing has been proven to be one of the most effective thing an individual can do to protect himself or herself from infectious diseases such as common cold and influenza. It does not only keep a person healthy but also prevent the spread of infectious diseases to other people. It is the mandate of any health intervention to improve the health of the people through treatment and prevention of diseases by promotion of healthy behaviors, and hand washing is one of the measures taken. Good hand washing technique is very important and it can significantly reduce the spread of communicable diseases among both adults and children (Miller, Vandome & Mcbrewster, 2009). This paper will address issues regarding to proper hand washing as well as some of the health promotion interventions that can be used to tackle this issue in Australia.

Hand hygiene is the most effective measure to prevent communicable diseases and as such, it limits the deadly effects of health care associated infections. This is why proper hand washing technique is very important in any environment. Despite our hands looking clean, they carry a wide variety of germs. Germs may be picked up in a number of ways such as; when people who are sick cough or sneeze, the germs making them sick are released into the air in form of tiny droplets. If these germs get into ones hands, and then you eat something without washing your hands, you are bound to get an infection. One can also get sick by not washing hands before preparing food, after visiting toilet, or after handling raw meat. Washing hands properly not only safeguard us from getting sick but also reduces the risks of infecting others. Unfortunately, the overall compliance to hand hygiene is unacceptably very poor among many people in Australia (Grayson et al. 2009). It is for this reason why a lot need to be done to create awareness of the importance of proper hand washing technique among people from different background in Australia.

In understanding why people do not comply with proper hand washing technique, it is important to discuss some of the barriers to appropriate hand hygiene practice. Some of these include environmental conditions, where individuals either do not have clean water to wash their hands or the right detergent to do so, lack of awareness to proper hand washing technique, and lack of proper health promotion intervention that can have a lasting effect on them. The determinants of health in proper hand washing also need to be known. They include, environmental living conditions, social, economic, housing as well as behavioral determinants such as self-efficacy and attitude. The environmental condition under which different people in Australia live in is a very important determinant of health. In some areas, there is inadequate supply of clean water and the hygienic condition in those areas is wanting. Without clean water and the right detergent, proper hand washing can never be achieved. The housing condition is also important because it governs the standards of hygiene in our immediate surroundings. The last major determinant of health in this discussion is the behavioral determinant specifically the attitude. The attitude any individual has towards something determine the success of behavior change, by encouraging people to change their perception with respect to hand washing, this will go a long way in improving their health by cutting down the incidents of cross-infection among individuals. Making people understand the importance of proper hand washing using the right means to convey the message will help them change the attitude they have and consequently the behavior change in the same issue. It has been found out that attitude change is a function of behavior change that has led to success or positive outcome (Miller, Vandome & Mcbrewster, 2009).

To succeed in making people in Australia hand hygiene compliance, effective health promotion interventions need to be put in place. The chosen health promotion intervention to be used to tackle this issue should be able to create opportunities for individuals and populations in Australia, and help them understand determinants that affect their well being and health as well as how they can improve on them. According to Ottawa Charter (1986), health can be termed as appositive concept that emphasizes social and personal resources as well as physical capacities. This means that health promotion is not just a responsibility of the health sector, but it goes beyond the healthy lifestyles to wellbeing. Any health promotion intervention should be aimed at enabling people to gain control over their health and improve it. According to Ottawa Charter, five fundamental strategies are essential for any health promotion intervention action. The first one is the development of public policies, which support health. In tackling the issue of proper hand washing, policies should be put in place to support it. A good example of such a policy is ensuring that there clean water and soap in all public places, especially public toilets, public schools and any other place that people gather from time to time . This should be made mandatory and rules to govern it should be set up. The second strategy is creating of supportive environment for health promotion. In this regard to facilitate proper hand washing health promotion intervention, people should be encouraged to maintain hygienic conditions. Strengthening the community action is the third strategy, it entails creating public awareness of the advantages of the actions being undertaken. It is important for people to learn the benefits of hand washing. The fourth one is developing personal skills in relation to promoting health, in our case people should be taught proper hand washing techniques by use of pictures and other media that are easily understood like in figure1 below.

Planning health promotion interventions report

Figure 1: 8 simple steps to clean your hands (Health promotion Board, 2009).

The last strategy is re-orienting health care systems to create a balance between curative services and health promotion (State Government of Victoria, 2003).

The health promotion continuum to be used in proper hand washing campaign should be a combination of strategies from across the continuum from an individual focus to population focus and from a medical approach to social-environmental one. A good example of the activities that can be done to improve population health in relation to hand washing are shown in the table below.

Individual focus Population focus

Screening individual risk assessment immunization




and skill









Figure 2: Some activities used to improve individual and population health (Ministry of Health, 2008)

Primary care

health promotion

Planning health promotion interventions report 1

In conclusion, by following the strategies detailed in Ottawa health promotion Charter, it will be possible to educate people on the importance of proper hand washing and its importance to their health. This will also be an effective tool to enable people understand the determinant of their health with respect to this particular issue and how they can improve on them. In doing so we will be able to create a healthy population with least cases of communicable diseases spread by germs mostly, present in our hands.


Grayson, M., Hand Hygiene Australia, World Health Organization, & Australian Commission on

Safety and Quality in Health Care. (2009). 5 moments for hand hygiene. Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care, World Health Organization

Health Promotion Board. (2009). Keep Your Hands Clean. Retrieved from

Miller, F. P., Vandome, A. F., & Mcbrewster, J. (2009). Hand Washing. Rue Meldrum,

Beau Bassin: VDM Publishing House Ltd

Ministry of Health (2003). Public Health in a Primary health Care Setting. Retrieved from$File/PublicHealthPrimaryHealthCareSetting.pdf

State Government of Victoria. (2003). Integrated health promotion resource kit. Retrieved from