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The prevalence of poor health in developing regions of Central America is a growing concern in the world today. Inadequate sanitation, unavailability of clean water, and fierce malnutrition are socially and culturally rooted issues that fuel poor health and medical problems in these regions. The purpose of this article is to review the literature on hygiene education programs in rural, impoverished communities of Central America. Research shows that NGOs and government-run health and hygiene education programs may vary in method and success. Regardless of their individual differences, there are four basic elements that help ensure a successful program. Research suggests that the core of successful health education programs is made up of 1) initial needs based evaluations, 2) local support, 3) long-lasting partnerships, and 4) low-technology resource tools. Unfortunately, research in this area is limited. While many programs are active, very few have been evaluated. Increased research efforts will undeniably improve the implementation of successful health and hygiene education programs in underdeveloped Central American rural regions.



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