Objective: The effectiveness of the hand hygiene education was investigated by studying the hand hygiene awareness and bacterial hand contamination among a random sample of 170 women in the community. Methods: Questionnaire was used to assess the hand hygiene awareness score, followed by swabbing of the dominant hand. Bacterial identification was done by conventional biochemical tests. Result: Better hand hygiene awareness score was significantly associated with age, scarce bacterial growth and absence of potential pathogen (p<0.05). Out of the 170 hand samples, bacterial growth was noted in 155 (91.2%), which included 91 (52.9%) heavy growth, 53 (31.2%) moderate growth and 11 (6.47%) scanty growth. The presence of enteric bacteria was associated with long nails (49.4% vs 29.2%; p=0.007; OR=2.3; 95% CI 1.25-4.44) while finger rings were associated with higher bacterial load (p=0.003). Coliforms was significantly higher among women who had a lower hand hygiene awareness score, washed their hands at lower frequency (59.0% vs 32.8%; p=0.003; OR=2.9; 95% CI 1.41-6.13) and used common soap as compared to antiseptic soaps (69.7% vs 30.3%, p=0.000; OR= 4.11; 95% CI 1.67-10.12). Conclusions: Level of hand hygiene awareness among the participants was satisfactory but not the compliance of hand washing practice, especially among the elders.
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