This Global Handwashing Day, ICTC is raising a hand for hygiene with the release of a new resource, All you need for F&E - a toolkit for planning and partnering, which aims to strengthen critical coordination and maximize impacts in the field by supporting program managers working on tackling trachoma to engage water, hygiene and sanitation partners.
Trachoma is caused by a infection from bacteria which thrive where there is poor sanitation and limited access to water for personal hygiene. The bacteria are spread through contact with contaminated hands, towels, sheets and, in some cases, eye-seeking flies. In these contexts, the promotion of good hygiene practices, such as hand and face washing is a key step in breaking the cycle of trachoma transmission.
ICTC members support a WHO-endorsed strategy to treat and prevent trachoma, which recognises this too. The full implementation of the strategy known as SAFE, which consists of surgery (S), antibiotics (A), facial cleanliness (F) and environmental improvement (E) interventions, is critical for the sustainability of trachoma elimination, which may be particularly contingent on the hygiene-related F and E components.
The trachoma community cannot achieve full F&E scale-up on its own, new partnerships need to be developed with other organizations already working in water and sanitation, education and health promotion. To respond, ICTC's WASH practices working group developed a comprehensive suite of tools to strengthen joint planning in All you need for F&E - a toolkit for planning and partnering.
The toolkit aims to help program managers:
- Build partnerships with ministries and organizations responsible for delivering hygiene-related interventions
- Build a program management structure that supports accountability and achieving shared objectives
- Take a comprehensive approach to behavior change and strategic communication including traditional health promotion / education, mass media, monitoring and evaluation, advocacy, and mobile technology
- Build local capacity at each stage of the process
- Pursue approaches that work alongside and support clinical and public health interventions for trachoma control
With 2020 fast approaching, the global trachoma community knows it needs to scale up the hygiene-related aspects of our implementation strategy, which will play a key role in supporting the Sustainable Development Goals and overall improvements in people’s health and well being. New approaches are critically needed now and All you need for F&E is doing its bit to raise a hand for hygiene by supporting partners to make this change.