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December 5th: How Much does Poor Hygiene Cost?

A new study has found that annual net costs to India from not handwashing are estimated at US$23 billion and to China at US$12 billion.  Expected net returns to national behaviour change handwashing programmes would be US$ 5.6 billion (3.4-8.6) for India at US$ 23 (16-35) per disability adjusted life year (DALY) avoided, which represents a 92-fold return to investment, and US$ 2.64 billion (2.08-5.57) for China at US$ 22 (14-31) per DALY avoided – a 35-fold return on investment. The authors conclude “Our results suggest large economic gains relating to decreases in diarrhoea and acute respiratory infection for both India and China from behaviour change programmes to increase handwashing with soap in households”.

 The study can be found at:

Townsend, J., Greenland, K., & Curtis, V. (2016). Costs of diarrhoea and acute respiratory infection attributable to not handwashing: the cases of India and China. Tropical Medicine & International Health. http://doi.org/10.1111/tmi.12808