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VIDEO : 'Tippy Tap' could save lives amid COVID-19 outbreak

Published Mar 23, 2020


DURBAN - Only about half of urban households in South Africa and about 27% of rural households have handwashing facilities. In the fight against COVID-19 one of the most effective things we can do is to ensure that it is both possible and practical for everyone in this country to practise good hand hygiene.

For many citizens, that seems out of reach: soap is an important item in the budget, not to be wasted, and 20 seconds of running water numerous times a day seems out of the question.

The Tippy Tap, a hands-free device, is a simple but effective device that ensures that good hygiene can still be practiced by rural communities. The Tippy Tap can be made with locally-sourced materials at virtually no cost.

The basic set of required materials includes several sticks, string, soap and a container for the water. It was created by the Community Media Trust (CMT), an organization supported by UNICEF and the Department of Health among others, on a number of health-based projects including handwashing and hygiene awareness-raising.

It is operated by a foot lever and thus reduces the chance for the transmission of pathogens as the user only touches a bar of soap suspended by a string. Adequate hand washing with the Tippy Tap requires only 40 milliliters of water as compared to an average of 500 milliliters by using a cup or mug.

Additionally, used gray water can be recycled for watering plants. The device is especially effective when strategically placed outside of latrines, kitchens and schools.

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