Juliemarie Vander Burg
Hygiene kit distribution and use in humanitarian response: summary of information from a systematic review and key informant interviews
Hygiene kits are commonly distributed in humanitarian emergencies to provide dignity and safety, yet remain under-researched. We aimed to close evidence gaps by completing a systematic review and key informant interviews (KII) to assess current practice in hygiene kits distributions. Fourteen KIIs were conducted and >5,000 documents were screened, with nine meeting inclusion criteria. Existing evidence highlights that reported use of hygiene kit items is high, and standardization, beneficiary involvement in kit design, and post-distribution monitoring are needed. Emergent themes from KIIs were: hygiene kit design; logistics/procurement; field appropriateness/feedback; and recommendations. Unexpectedly, menstrual health management (MHM) and market-based programming (MBP) dominated the literature. Overall, hygiene kit distributions are governed by ‘best practice’ rather than ‘evidence base’. This limited evidence base is stark compared to more robust evidence for market-based programming. As a common definition of hygiene kits was lacking, we developed and present a hygiene kit typology. We recommend hygiene kit programming: 1) understands local context, cultural norms, and preferences by incorporating beneficiary consultation and feedback; 2) ensures item type and quantity is what beneficiaries need; 3) ensures hygiene kits are context-appropriate, and considers concurrent MHM and/or MBP programming; and 4) works with coordination mechanisms to harmonize kit materials, delivery, and monitoring.