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.
Results from implementing a cohesive strategy and standardized monitoring programme for hygiene kit distribution in Myanmar
Hygiene kits are commonly distributed in humanitarian emergencies to interrupt disease transmission and provide dignity. Despite being commonly implemented, hygiene kit distribution interventions are under-researched, and there is a lack of knowledge on kit efficacy and effectiveness. In Myanmar, the WASH cluster developed a national hygiene kit distribution and monitoring strategy. The research was aimed at determining the effectiveness of this strategy in the context of protracted internally displaced persons camps in Myanmar. To understand programme strategy, we reviewed documents against inclusion criteria; extracted and categorized data for included documents; analysed data; and summarized results. Twenty-six documents met the inclusion criteria of describing strategy development (47 per cent), monitoring in Rakhine (47 per cent) or Kachin State (3 per cent), or monitoring menstrual health and hygiene programme (3 per cent). We identified the strategy was successfully adopted and adapted for Kachin and Rakhine states; however, limitations were identified in receiving consistent monitoring data. We found hygiene kit distributions need to consider local context, including population mobility, local markets and availability of products, and household expenses and debt. Due to these interrelated factors, the percentage of households selling kit items decreased over time; additionally, soap and sanitary pad presence was significantly associated with household income. Consistently, women reported preferring disposable pads for menstrual health and hygiene due to privacy concerns. Programmatically, it is recommended to adapt hygiene kit distributions to local contexts, continue to distribute hygiene kits in protracted contexts to identified at-risk households, distribute disposable pads, and continue revising and improving strategy and monitoring tools.