Health & Medicine

Hand-washing to prevent disease

This story is a part of

Human Needs

This story is a part of

Human Needs


Image from stupidpony / Flickr

Millions of children die each year as a result of diarreal diseases, half of which could be prevented with the regular use of soap. Dr. Valerie Curtis, Director of the Hygeine Center at the London School of Hygeine and Tropical Medicine is promoting hand-washing with soap as a way to reduce child mortality in the developing world. Curtis has sought the help of advertising agencies to find a better way to encourage the hand-washing habit.

Player utilities

Listen to the Story.

She sought out the help of people outside of the public health sphere to more effectively encourage soap use. Ad agencies would conduct research on the habits and contexts of their potential consumers; they did just that with the affected groups in the developing world. As a result, the message is changed from a clinical statement to a highly valuable proposition that has meaning in their life and context.

PRI's "The World" is a one-hour, weekday radio news magazine offering a mix of news, features, interviews, and music from around the globe. "The World" is a co-production of the BBC World Service, PRI and WGBH Boston.

More "The World."