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Reported handwashing practices of Vietnamese people during the COVID-19 pandemic and associated factors: a 2020 online survey

1 Environmental Health Department, Hanoi University of Public Health, Hanoi, Vietnam
2 Biostatistics Department, Hanoi University of Public Health, Hanoi, Vietnam
3 Vietnam Health Environment Management Agency, Ministry of Health, Hanoi, Vietnam

Special Issues: Coronavirus disease 2019: Modeling, Control and Prediction

COVID-19 pandemic currently affects nearly all countries and regions in the world. Washing hands, together with other preventive measures, to be considered one of the most important measures to prevent the disease. This study aimed to characterize reported handwashing practices of Vietnamese people during the COVID-19 pandemic and associated factors. Kobo Toolbox platform was used to design the online survey. There were 837 people participating in this survey. All independent variables were described by calculating frequencies and percentages. Univariate linear regression was used with a significant level of 0.05. Multiple linear regression was conducted to provide a theoretical model with collected predictors. Seventy-nine percent of the respondents used soap as the primary choice when washing their hands. Sixty percent of the participants washed their hands at all essential times, however, only 26.3% practiced washing their hands correctly, and only 28.4% washed their hands for at least 20 seconds. Although 92.1% washed hands after contacting with surfaces at public places (e.g., lifts, knob doors), only 66.3% practiced handwashing after removing masks. Females had better reported handwashing practices than male participants (OR = 1.88; 95% CI: 1.15–3.09). Better knowledge of handwashing contributed to improving reported handwashing practice (OR = 1.30; 95% CI: 1.20–1.41). Poorer handwashing practices were likely due, at least in part, to the COVID-19 pandemic information on the internet, social media, newspapers, and television. Although the number of people reported practicing their handwashing was rather high, only a quarter of them had corrected reported handwashing practices. Communication strategy on handwashing should emphasize on the minimum time required for handwashing as well as the six handwashing steps.
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