COVID-19, public health messaging, and sanitation and hygiene practices in rural India

Sambodhi Research

Despite the importance of safe sanitation and hygiene for sustainable development and public health, approximately half of India’s rural population lacks access to safely managed sanitation. Policies prioritizing improved sanitation access have accelerated coverage, yet barriers to universal access and use remain. In this paper, we investigate how personal experience with a public health shock impacts recall of public health messages and households’ sanitation and hygiene practices. Using a panel survey conducted before and after the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the resulting lockdown, in Bihar, India, we compare public health messaging recall and hygiene and sanitation behaviors among households that experienced severe economic disruptions due to the COVID-19 lockdown and those that did not.

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  • Bihar


  • Research report


  • Health and Nutrition
  • Water and Sanitation