Hygiene Proposal For Poverty Stricken Kids In Washington DC Research Proposal

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Preventing Disease Through Improved Hygiene: Low-income children in the Washington D.C. schools

According to a 2011 study published in the American Journal of Infectious Disease Control, simple acts of good hygiene can have a lasting impact upon childhood health and school attendance. This issue is particularly critical for low-income students, for whom attendance at school can have a significant impact upon their future development, given the stresses that exist at home and the positive influence that attending school can provide. School attendance rates for at-risk youth can affect long-term success later on in high school. However, children in this demographic group face tremendous obstacles in getting to school: transportation, a lack of parental support, and also an increased risk of illness at home and at school. Low-income children are at particular risk for respiratory infections, which can be easily spread through inadequate hand-washing and sanitation at school. Combined with old buildings at home and at school, contagious diseases can be easily spread from child to child.

As well as poor building health and close quarters, not understanding the risks of poor hygiene can also facilitate the spread of contagion. With this in mind, researchers conducted a three-month research study on 324 Norwegian pupils in low-income areas ages 5-14 years. In the experimental group, the children were given age-appropriate lessons on hand disinfection theory and practice and "directed to disinfect their hands using ethanol gel three...

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Over the three months of the intervention, this measure resulted in a 66% decrease in pupils with four or more days of absence and a 20% increase in children with zero absences" at the same school" (Studies show hand hygiene correlates with decreased risk of transmitting infection, 2011, American Journal of Infectious Disease Control).
The proposed grant would attempt to put the information gleaned from this research study into action. It would target low-income students in the Washington D.C. area. It would deploy lessons in improved hygiene as a way of improving attendance at school and also performance at school, given that sick children do not learn as well nor do absent children. The first, pre-intervention component of the program would involve stocking the school with appropriate hygienic supplies. One problem many low-income schools are facing in the wake of budget cutbacks is that they have insufficient funds for soap, antiseptic gel, and hand wipes. Without the needed 'tools' children cannot keep themselves clean. It is useless to tell children to wash their hands if bathrooms and other areas are not well-stocked.

The second component of the campaign would be educational. Within health classes and during the school day, children would receive instruction in appropriate sanitary measures. Children would be taught about how diseases are spread in an age-appropriate way. This would also be a science lesson, as well as a hygiene and manners lesson. Next, children would be taught the…

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Studies show hand hygiene correlates with decreased risk of transmitting infection. (2011).

American Journal of Infectious Disease Control. Retrieved October 27, 2011 at http://www.infectioncontroltoday.com/news/2011/08/studies-show-hand-hygiene-correlates-with-decreased-risk-of-transmitting-infection.aspx


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