Lucy (left) peers into the Glo box to look at Elizabeth’s hands.Prisoners at Tongariro Prison have made Glo boxes to help the Bay of Plenty District Health Board’s Toi Te Ora – Public Health Service deliver hand hygiene education at schools, health expos and other hand hygiene awareness events.

The Glo boxes provide a visual, interactive way to help children learn the importance of hand hygiene. The viewing goggles on the sides of the box let people look through and see the parts missed during hand washing. If any part of the hand glows under the UV lights in the box, then it is still dirty.

Hands glowing under the UV lights in the Glo box. Four prisoners working in the prison’s carpentry workshop were involved in making the boxes as part of their NZQA unit standard qualifications.

“Feedback from the guys involved in the design and the building of these boxes has been very positive,” says Scott Walker, Assistant Prison Director. “This has been great for the men involved to give something back to the community that will help improve the health of children and their whanau.”

In total 25 boxes were supplied and have been very well received by the public health service which was impressed by the high quality and how easy they are to use.

Example of the Glo boxes made by prisoners at Tongariro Prison.“The Glo boxes are very sturdy and are designed well,” says Janis Graham, Health Improvement Advisor who recently delivered and demonstrated a Glo box to a primary school in the Eastern Bay.  “It was just amazing how the children understood the importance of good hand washing when they used them. The looking masks around three sides of the box enabled several children to look at the same time.”

Toi Te Ora – Public Health Service has a five year goal to reduce childhood admissions to hospital from acute rheumatic fever, respiratory infections and skin infections by two thirds. Hand hygiene is one of the most effective actions people can take to help prevent these illnesses and these boxes will contribute to achieving this goal.