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Handwashing programmes could be intervention of choice for diarrhoeal diseases

BMJ 2003; 326 doi: (Published 10 May 2003) Cite this as: BMJ 2003;326:1004
  1. Roger Dobson
  1. Abergavenny

    Handwashing could prevent more than one million deaths a year from diarrhoeal diseases. A new systematic review that set out to determine the impact of washing hands with soap in the community worldwide concludes that handwashing could reduce the risk of diarrhoea by up to 47%.

    “On current evidence, washing hands with soap can reduce the risk of diarrhoeal diseases by 42–47% and interventions to promote hand washing might save a million lives. In the absence of adequate mortality studies, we extrapolate the potential number of diarrhoea deaths that could be averted by hand washing …

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