Abstract

Many health care facilities (HCFs) in developing countries lack adequate infrastructure for handwashing and drinking water, increasing the risk of healthcare-associated infections. Attaining permanent, 24-hour/day piped water access – the long-term goal – is time-consuming and expensive. To address this problem in the short- to medium-term, low-cost portable handwashing water stations (HWSs) and drinking water stations (DWSs) were installed in rural Kenyan HCFs in 2011. Access to HWSs with soap and DWSs with safe water was ascertained at baseline and 1-year follow-up. Cost data were obtained from the program budget and beneficiary data (number of health workers, households, and individuals within HCF catchment areas) from the Ministry of Health. A cost analysis was adjusted for incremental gains from baseline to follow-up in access to improved handwashing and safe DWSs. The cost of improved access to handwashing with soap was $1,527/HCF, $217/health worker, and $0.17/individual, and to safe drinking water was $720/HCF, $103/health worker, and $0.08/individual. The favorable cost of this intervention per beneficiary justifies its use for rapid improvement of handwashing and drinking water access in HCFs during planning and construction of permanent infrastructure.

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