Hygiene Behaviour Change in Response to COVID-19 in Zambia: A cross-sectional survey

By :Hamoonga R1,4, Mbewe T2 , Chilala B3 , Muyangwa M3 , Chisanga P3

1. Zambia National Public Health Institute, Lusaka, Zambia

2. IntrePid, Lusaka, Zambia

3. WaterAid Zambia, Lusaka, Zambia

4. The Ministry of Health, Lusaka, Zambia

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The success of Zambia’s COVID-19 response is premised on communities adhering to good hygiene practices. Specifically, communities have been urged to follow the five golden rules: 1) Wear your facemask correctly and consistently; 2) Maintain physical distance; 3) Wash your hands frequently with soap and water or use hand sanitiser; 4) Avoid crowded places and stay at home, and lastly let me stress the need to 5) Seek medical attention early if you are symptomatic, however, the mere provision of WASH facilities as part of this response is inadequate in ensuring adoption of sustainable preventive behaviours.


We report the results of both formative research and a cross-sectional study to assess the ongoing effect and outcome of hygiene response to COVID-19. Data recorded among members of the public included the current level of understanding of hygiene behaviours linked to COVID-19, the prevalent barriers, motives and preferred touchpoints.

Results and Conclusion

Our results support the contention that the mere provision of WASH facilities as part of the COVID-19 response is inadequate in ensuring the adoption of sustainable preventive behaviours.

Acknowledging that the general public might have been exposed to multiple interventions promoted by various partners, there is therefore need to develop a targeted behaviour change strategy based on the opportunity, ability, and motivation theoretical framework.

Keywords: COVID-19 Behaviours, Zambia, Hygiene, Spatial epidemiology