User Perceptions of Hand Sanitizer in Water-Constrained Communities: A Field Study in Hubli, India

Summer 2011

Christopher Andersen : Social Welfare

Mentor: Clare Talwalker, International and Area Studies

Diarrhea and respiratory infection are the two leading causes of death among children in India. Hand hygiene is arguably among the most effective and inexpensive ways to prevent these diseases. In particular, alcohol-based hand sanitizer solutions are shown to be as or more efficacious as handwashing in preventing diarrheal and respiratory disease. Yet at present, information about hand sanitizer within the cultural and socio-economic contexts of developing nations is scarce. In response to this gap in knowledge, I will implement a study using qualitative focus groups and quantitative questionnaires to collect data on the cultural and socio-economic factors that may influence the use of hand sanitizer in South Indian slum communities. This project should provide important information that can be integrated into culturally-sensitive hand hygiene health projects.

As a recipient of the SURF grant, I am honored to be a member of a community of top scholars. The support provided by SURF, both financial and otherwise, will be invaluable in making my project a success. I view this project and award as a launching point to further research in graduate school and beyond.