Recent report has revealed several reasons for poor hand washing – from the availability of basic infrastructures such as washbasins, soaps, and water, to low awareness on handwashing practices or simple unwillingness of to wash hands after critical times. Statistics on handwashing in India shows that almost all households in India (as high as 97% according to recent surveys) have washbasins, only richer and more educated households in urban areas use soap to wash hands. The gap between rich and poor households is huge – only two out of 10 poor households use soap compared to nine out of ten rich households.
Handwashing (and cleanliness) habits between men and women differ starkly too. Internationally, women show more positive handwashing practices than men. Sporadic evidence in India supports this claim, and women seem to be more open to adopting improved habits. For instance, women are more aware of the critical times for handwashing (after defecation, after cleaning a child’s bottom, before feeding a child, before eating and before preparing food or handling raw meat, fish, or poultry). Also, handwashing compliance rates among women are better than men. But the reasons or factors fuelling this positive change remain elusive. Moreover, it remains uncertain whether handwashing habits for the youth in India (and globally) fit this claim. – Source: NDTV