Simple handwashing designs are fine at this time. As recommended by the WHO, the most important thing at this time is that they are widely available. The WHO are currently recommending that handwashing facilities with soap and water should be located in the following public places:

  • At the entrance to every building, for use on entry and exit.
  • At all major bus and train stations, airports, and seaports.

We recommend that handwashing facilities are also stationed at all markets, food vending locations, and water points.

There are a number of factors to consider when selecting and maintaining handwashing facilities in public places and for COVID-19 prevention:

  • Scalability - What designs are easiest to produce at scale and quickly?
  • Water availability - Is water scarce in your area? Consider handwashing technologies that reduce the flow of water allowing hands to be washed with a minimal amount of water.
  • Accessibility - What designs will be accessible for all people to use (including children, older people, and people with disabilities)?
  • Touch-free - Which designs minimise the likelihood of re-contamination? This may include prioritising designs which can be foot-operated or that feature taps which can be turned on or off with the lower arm or elbow.
  • Distancing - Position the facilities at least 1m apart to enable physical distancing while handwashing. If queues are likely to form by the facility markings on the ground can encourage physical distancing while waiting to use the facility.
  • Greywater - Collect grey water from the handwashing facility in a covered container if it is not connected to a piped system.

Factors for sustainability and maintenance:

  • Consumables. How can you ensure that soap and water is regularly replaced?
  • Cleaning. How can you ensure the handwashing facility and taps are regularly cleaned?

Long-lasting. Which designs are robust and will continue to function under high-use conditions? Using materials and parts available locally will make repairs easier if needed.

This guide by Wash’em was developed before the COVID-19 outbreak but provides some examples of handwashing facilities and describes how to work with communities to design handwashing facilities that improve behaviour. 

The Handwashing Compendium provides guidance, local examples of and further resources on accessible low-cost handwashing facilities. The HappyTap is an affordable and easy to deploy handwashing facility that can be ordered in bulk and shipped worldwide. 

For further information on this subject, please visit these resources:

o WaterAid’s guide for handwashing facilities in public places
o UNICEF India’s Guide for COVID-19 handwashing facilities
o UNICEF Fact Sheet on handwashing stations

Are tippy taps ok? 

Designs like the tippy-tap are easy to replicate quickly. However, tippy-taps are prone to breaking easily. So if you are setting up tippy-taps you should also establish mechanisms for the water and soap to be regularly replenished. Tippy taps are appropriate to promote for household use during this time because they are affordable to construct. 

Want to know more about COVID-19 and handwashing? 

Editor's note

Author: Sian White
Review: Katie Greenland, Ammar Fawzi
Last update: 21.09.2020

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