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Webinar: What is the COVID-19 Hygiene Hub?
Webinar: What is the COVID-19 Hygiene Hub?

Recording of the webinar and answers to questions

Astrid Hasund Thorseth avatar
Written by Astrid Hasund Thorseth
Updated over a week ago

Thanks to all who attended our webinar 18 May 2020. Please find the webinar recording below. It is also available for download here.

During our webinar on 18 of May, we received a number of questions on these topics:

  • Hygiene Hub resources

  • The future direction of the Hygiene Hub

  • Hygiene Hub Management

  • Technical questions

These questions are answered below.

Questions on Hygiene Hub resources:

1. Are resources produced by the Hygiene Hub similar to the World Health Organisation’s Guidelines and National Government guidelines?

All the resources developed by the Hygiene Hub are designed to be in line with global guidelines and the latest evidence. In this article we also stress the importance of ensuring your COVID-19 response programme is consistent and aligned with national guidelines in the country where you are working.

Through the resources made available on the Hygiene Hub website, we try to bring together various global guidelines, explain the evidence behind them and provide practical examples of how you can apply these guidelines in LMICs. We update our resources frequently to keep up-to-date with new and updated guidelines. .

2. Is the development and review process for Hygiene Hub resources documented somewhere?

Yes, you can read about how our resources are developed, reviewed and translated here.

3. Does the Hygiene Hub share research or resources developed by other organizations?

Yes! The Hygiene Hub resources are designed to synthesise and share evidence and resources that are produced by any academic or implementing agency. We also aim to explain the strengths and limitations of current evidence or resources to those who may use them. All our resources refer to a range of evidence and guidelines. All resource documents contain hyperlinks to expanded guidelines or more in-depth resources.

4. Once a resource is published on the Hygiene Hub how often is it reviewed and how often are new resources incorporated?

When new resources are developed, authors are asked to keep up with recent evidence and global guidelines and revise resources appropriately. If more substantial changes are needed, then resources will go through a full review process.

At the moment it is easier for us to identify new published literature than it is to identify ‘grey literature’ resources that are developed by organisations. If your organisation has developed a resource that we should be aware of please share it with us via

We develop new resources or add to existing resources in response to demand. When we receive questions (through the website, email, or direct discussions with partners) we try to develop resources that others can learn from too. If there are specific resources you would like to use, email us at

5. Do you develop resources with particular contexts in mind? How are they adapted so that they are relevant to different geographies and circumstances?

The resources on the Hygiene Hub are all designed with low and middle income settings in mind, including settings that are crisis affected or where resources are limited. Our resources are designed to link with global guidance where available, synthesize evidence, and provide a range of practical suggestions. Not all suggestions will be relevant to all contexts. As experts in your local contex,t we encourage you to pick and choose from the options based on your understanding of what would work locally. If you see that there are gaps in the resources, that none of the practical actions are relevant to your setting, have additional suggestions or would like more contextualised technical support and discussion, we encourage you to utilise the chat function on the Hygiene Hub and connect with one of our technical advisors in real-time.

6. Is the same rigorous review process applied to every communication (IEC) material that the COVID-19 Hygiene Hub shares as well? Is there a list of criteria for selection of resources that are uploaded?

Our IEC list was one of the first sets of resources we developed as this was one of the most common requests we were receiving (particularly for IECs in languages other than English). We are not a repository for IECs as there are many other lists available. However if you would like to share IEC’s with us then please send them to As part of our ‘ongoing support’ to different initiatives our technical advisors are often involved in supporting organisations and governments on IEC development. If your organisation would benefit from this kind of review then please contact us via the email above or via the chat function on the Hygiene Hub website.

Questions on the future direction of the Hygiene Hub

1. Will the Hygiene Hub be hosting regular webinars/updates?

In the coming weeks, we will repeat this webinar;

In the past month members of the Hygiene Hub’s technical advisory team have participated in several webinars at the invitation of various organisations and networks. For example here is a link to a webinar that we did with the Ready Initiative on COVID-19 Hygiene programming in crisis-affected settings. If you would like someone from the Hygiene Hub to join a webinar you are organising then please contact us on

2. Does the Hygiene Hub plan to have newsletters or scheduled updates?

You will find a news feed on the main homepage, which provides live updates on Hygiene Hub activity, including new and upcoming resources, accessible webinar recordings and signposts to upcoming webinars.These updates are also compiled into regular bulletins which are posted on the news section of our website. We are also developing a new website page to share case studies. In addition, you can follow us on social media.

We currently do not plan to develop newsletters as Hygiene Hub resources are already being shared through existing newsletters such as the Global WASH Cluster and other internal organisational newsletters. However do let us know if a newsletter is something you feel would be valuable.

3. Do you have any plans to encourage more discussion between practitioners?

At the moment we have an interactive map on the homepage of the Hygiene Hub. Any organisation can update and share information this way. This includes information to allow others to get in touch and collaborate across regions and organisations. You can add your project to the interactive map by completing this form and then we should have your project online within 24 hours.

Going forward we would also like to provide more case studies about what is working well in different parts of the world. These are likely to be in the form of video and written blogs. If you have a project you would like to share, please add this to the map or email us at

4. What will happen to the Hygiene Hub when the COVID-19 pandemic ends?

The COVID-19 Hygiene Hub is a new initiative and set up in response to identified needs in relation to COVID-19. We are committed to working with our steering committee and users to best identify what gaps the Hygiene Hub could fill in the future.

Questions on Hygiene Hub Management

1. Who manages the COVID-19 Hygiene Hub? Do you have any regional branches?

The COVID-19 Hygiene Hub is a broad partnership housed at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) that draws on scientific, operational, and creative expertise from a network of organisations. This initiative was developed by individuals from LSHTM, the Centre for Affordable Water and Sanitation Technology (CAWST), and the Wash’Em team. The partnership collaborates remotely and includes a growing technical advisory team across the globe. All of our technical advisory team have experience working on WASH programmes in low and middle income settings and in crisis-affected settings.

The strategic direction of the COVID-19 Hygiene Hub will be guided by our steering committee members who come from leading international agencies. This will help to ensure the Hygiene Hub remains responsive and adaptive to the changing nature of the pandemic. You can see a full overview of our technical team and our steering committee members on our website.

2. Do you plan to publish statistics on the number of requests received and the countries and types of organisations that these requests are coming from.

We are monitoring all the support that we provide via the Hygiene Hub. We are currently developing our weekly news updates and will regularly provide a synthesis of the various ways in which we collaborate with organizations.

Technical questions

1. Do you have any resources on the local production of fabric facial masks by the community?

You can find information on different types of masks, including homemade fabrics maks in this article. An update on this article will be published soon and will include more information on homemade fabric masks.

2. Do you have resources on surface disinfection options in different types of contexts, including vulnerable groups and settings?

You can find all of our resources on disinfection here. You can find advice on different options for the disinfection of surfaces in the home and workplace here. This includes disinfection advice for people living in settings that are typically harder to clean such as improvised shelters or houses with dirt floors.

3. Should we be cleaning frequently touched surfaces with dettol or clorox?

A range of products can be used for cleaning and disinfection during this time. For example the US Environmental Protection Agency has compiled a list of products that can be used for disinfection in homes and which they claim are efficacious against SARS-CoV-2. It is important to note that in most cases these products will have not been tested with SARS-CoV-2 but rather other viruses that are similar to this. The efficacy of these products also relies on correct use. Both Clorox and Dettol products are on this list. For more information about household disinfection please see our set of resources on this.

4. What are the hygiene challenges children might face once schools reopen? Any specific recommendations for schools?

UNESCO, UNICEF, the World Food Program, and the World Bank have recently published their Framework for Reopening Schools, which provides re-opening guidance and recommendations for national and local stakeholders. Ensuring the physical protection of students, teachers, and school staff - including access to a hygienic environment and access to handwashing facilities - is an essential precondition for re-opening.

Schools bring together large groups of children and staff from different households within communal areas and so are potentially very conducive to viral transmission. There are three ways that schools can contribute to COVID-19 reduction. These include:

  • Reduce person-to-person transmission. To reduce person-to-person transmission, schools should promote physical distancing, for example by staggering when different age groups attend school or by using visual cues such as marks on the ground to cue children to stand 2 metres apart when waiting to enter rooms. Schools should also promote good hygiene practices such as handwashing and covering your mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing by providing the necessary handwashing infrastructure and incorporating hygiene promotion into the curriculum.

  • Reduce contact exposure. Extensive cleaning of surfaces in schools should occur daily (with chlorine solutions or ≥70% alcohol) and the number of high touch surfaces should be reduced, for example by removing communal furniture or propping open doors to reduce contact with the door handle.

  • Support test, trace, and isolate. Schools should be in communication with local authorities. They should encourage students with COVID-19 symptoms to stay at home and get tested and to also stay at home if a close family member has symptoms. Schools should ensure that for students who test positive, information is conveyed to family or those they live with to advise for these contacts to get tested and stay at home.

Within the next week we will publish resources on COVID-19 and schools, please keep an eye on our news section for the latest updates.

Save the Children also offers a practitioner’s guide to safely reopening schools which additionally includes guidance (in the form of checklists) around education, child protection and mental health.

5. How can we can ensure the quality of hand sanitizers that are produced locally?

Alcohol-based hand rub (ABHR) is as effective as handwashing with soap against SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for COVID-19. However, ABHR is less widely available and often more expensive. ABHR may be recommended in health-care facilities, in situations where access to soap and water is limited or expensive to access, and where there is a need for rapid and effective decontamination of hands. Local production of ABHR is recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) only if there are no other suitable commercial products available or they are too costly. If you choose to produce ABHR locally, follow this guide by the WHO which includes detailed guidelines for quality control of locally produced ABHR.

6. What are the recommendations for sanitation or waste water treatment processes?

You can find information about this here. For more general information about faecal-oral transmission of COVID-19 and what it means for WASH see our summary resource.

7. Some concerns have been raised regarding distributing IEC materials related to COVID-19 through brochures as giving out materials could facilitate the transmission of the virus. Do you think that distributing the IEC materials will be better to be shared online rather than distributing brochures? and what could be the best way to distribute the IEC relating information to the communities where the internet connection is a problem.

SARS-CoV-2 can survive on surfaces, including paper for some time. Read more about survival times in our resource here.

A volunteer organisation in the UK has developed this guidance for distributing flyers or brochures to households and similar principles should be applied in low and middle income settings too.

At this time distributing IEC materials may pose a small risk. Before distributing materials ask yourself what you hope to achieve by doing so and think about how members of your community will use the IEC material you gave them. In many settings IEC materials are distributed but are quickly discarded by communities and create unnecessary waste. Printed IEC materials are not always suitable for engaging all members of the population, for example they can easily be misinterpreted among people with limited literacy and may not be accessible for children or people with visual limitations.

Given these limitations we would discourage distributing IEC information as the primary mode of working with populations at this time. In this resource we outline some key principles that might be more effective for changing hygiene behaviours and emphasise the importance of using a range of delivery channels.

At the moment each country and region is responding to a different phase of the COVID-19 outbreak in their context. The feasibility, safety and acceptability of different delivery mechanisms will also vary based on this. We have developed some general guidance about developing phased programming for different stages of the outbreak here. In our community engagement resource we also provide guidance on selecting different delivery mechanisms.

8. Should food be washed with water, water and vinegar or other detergents?

Food should be washed with water. The use of soap and detergents is not appropriate as these may be harmful upon ingestion. Please refer to our resource on food hygiene and COVID-19.

Editor's note:

Author: Astrid Hasund Thorseth, Sian White

Review: Robert Dreibelbis

Last updated: 20.05.2020

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