I would like to introduce you to the most innovative behavior modification program for Handwashing created by Dr. Will Sawyer. Using multimedia and multi-sensory tools and our Henry the Hand Champion Handwasher character educator, our program changes the hand hygiene behavior of both adults and children. This primary Infection Prevention program comes in a Tool Kit that can be integrated with any existing handwashing campaign or can serve as an initial campaign if there are available water and sanitation facilities. As Jelena Vujcic’s research for UNICEF has concluded it is a successful behavior-changing handwashing program that is lacking in areas that have water and sanitation service. This is where Dr.Will Sawyer and the Henry the Hand Foundation can help! Using the behavior modification resources on our website, as well as the simple, visual, and engaging demonstrations in our Tool Kits, any health promoter in a community can become a teacher following our Infection Prevention programming. Each teacher (health promoter) can empower family, friends, and community members to follow Henry the Hand’s 4 Principles of Hand Awareness to improve health and wellness by reducing pneumonia and diarrhea diseases.
It is a Hand Awareness strategy that we teach, which is defined as hand hygiene, respiratory etiquette, and cross contamination awareness. Our program for primary infection prevention training is simple for both adults and children to learn and then to use to teach others. Using humor, repetition, visual cues, rewarded behavior, social marketing, and Henry the Hand as the messenger, our mission is memorable and encourages long-term behavior change by adults and children in the community. The training complements any community intervention for vaccination or maternal child health improvement without requiring additional human resources or health promotion efforts. While educating about or administering vaccines, you can take advantage of this teaching moment using Henry the Hand’s visual aids. Not everyone reads, but everyone can get the picture!
Dr. Will Sawyer created the Henry the Hand Foundation (501c3) NGO in order to have Henry the Hand serve the global community and change the impact of infectious diseases one handwash at a time! All of the educational materials and the Infection Prevention Tool Kits are on our website so everyone can access them and benefit. There are posters available to download for free that are in 24 different languages (https://henrythehand.com/download-posters/translations ). If there is another language that you would like, please visit the website and fill out our translation template for the poster you would like so we can put it on the website for you and others to download wherever you are around the world (https://henrythehand.com/international/templates).
Thank you for letting me take this opportunity to introduce our innovative hand hygiene behavior change program (Hand Awareness). Please encourage your peers to visit our website to begin to help “spread the word not the germs” (www.henrythehand.org)!
- According to the Global Public Private Partnership for Handwashing (GPPPHW), “As many as nine out of every ten people who are infected with Ebola virus can die from the disease; in the current outbreak, the average fatality rate is around 50%...handwashing with soap is an important method for protecting yourself and your community from the spread of Ebola virus.”
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), explains that the Ebola Virus Disease is spread through direct contact with an infected person’s bodily fluids or direct contact with materials contaminated by an infected person’s bodily fluids.
- According to the World Health Organization, “1.87 million children under the age of 5 die each year due to respiratory infections and diarrhea (hygiene-related illnesses), which means that 1 child dies every 30 seconds from diarrhea”.
- The World Health Organization also states that “Handwashing with soap increases the chance of not getting diarrhea from 30% to 50% and it increases the chance of not contracting a respiratory infection from 21% to 45%”.
- GPPPHW says, “One of the biggest reasons that people do not wash their hands with soap is because handwashing isn’t a habit”.
- Jelena Vujcic’s research states that “interventions using three to four behavior change techniques are the most successful, meaning that interventions having participants engage at a behavioral, social, sensory, and cognitive level are the most successful”.
- According to, UNICEF’s Dr. Tushar Rane, “School children have the potential to be very effective change agents -- they are able to demonstrate positive practices that they have imbibed at school, thus influencing their families and community to adopt these behaviours”.
- GPPPHW supports that “A recent study suggests that handwashing with soap at critical times could help reduce school absenteeism by around 42 percent”.
With the current Ebola virus outbreak, this year’s flu epidemic, and a potential future pandemic, it is essential that we learn healthy handwashing techniques and how to be hand aware! Handwashing with soap is just one of the components for stopping the spread of infectious diseases. Henry the Hand’s 4 Principles of Hand Awareness help train you to develop a healthy handwashing behavior and how to avoid spreading infectious diseases to yourself and others. Our behavior modification program, educational resources, and International Infection Prevention Tool Kit can help communities reduce pneumonia and diarrhea diseases through teaching and reinforcing healthy hand hygiene behavior and Hand Awareness.
Our program for primary infection prevention training is simple for both adults and children to learn and then to use to teach others, meaning that we engage trainees at a behavioral, social, sensory, and cognitive level. Using humor, repetition, visual cues, rewarded behavior, social marketing, and Henry the Hand as the messenger, our mission is memorable and encourages long-term behavior change by adults and children in the community. Our International Infection Prevention Tool Kit can be used by schools, businesses, health organizations, and established programs to build on existing behaviors and cultural contexts. With the materials in our International Infection Prevention Tool Kit, the trainees become the trainers where they not only advocate for handwashing, healthy hand hygiene, and Hand Awareness, but also change their own behavior through teaching others.
Dr. Will and Henry the Hand Foundation want to increase handwashing with soap and Hand Awareness globally to reduce the spread of pneumonia and diarrhea diseases. We need your help to keep children in school, adults productive at work, and communities healthy!
Together we can make a difference!