The “Elbow-Way” to Proper Handwashing: A Device Improvised for Health Facilities Where there is no Running Water
AbstractLack of running pipe-borne water is common to developing countries and therefore, water used in hospitals and laboratories are collected in buckets or basins from wells or bore holes. This often leads to contamination of the water from contact with the hands when this is used for routine handwashing.
By improvising a plastic intravenous infusion bottle as soap dispenser, a longitudinal water tank with tap to deliver water, a hose-pipe connected to a plastic bowl on a table and a box containing clean towels, a handwashing set was designed. By applying pressure with the elbow on soap dispenser to obtain liquid soap and turning the tap with the elbow, hands can be properly washed. Using the elbow to control all manouvres reduced the chance of water contamination as no contact was made with the hands.
The use of home-made liquid antiseptic soap also made the set useful in preventing contamination, especially as the shelf life of the prepared soap was shown to be up to four weeks with no significant microbial growth.
More than 70% of health professionals on a trial run were assertive of the usefulness of the handwashing device. Overall result showed that hands were properly washed and contamination was minimal using the improvised device when there is no running tap water.
Key Words: Handwashing, Elbow-way, Water Contamination, Running water.
Jnl of Nigerian Infection Control Association Vol.4(1) 2001: 16-20