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Global Handwashing Day 2022: Theme, History, Slogan & Tips

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The goal of Global Handwashing Day (GHD), a global effort to promote handwashing, is to inspire and mobilize individuals to change their handwashing practices. Both washing with soap and washing hands frequently during the day are crucial.

Global Handwashing Day is celebrated annually on October 15. The goal of the international campaign is to increase public awareness of the importance of soap-based hand washing in illness prevention. Intestinal and respiratory illnesses can be reduced by 25–50% with proper handwashing.

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We do hope that you wash your hands often throughout the day, but on October 15—Global Handwashing Day—you might want to give it a little extra thought. Most of us probably never really gave handwashing and its significance in preventing the transmission of infections much thought until COVID-19 happened. Despite the fact that this day has been established since 2008, the global epidemic has truly brought attention to the value of washing hands.

Global Handwashing Day’s History

The Global Handwashing Partnership established Global Handwashing Day as a chance to develop and put into practice original strategies for inspiring people to wash their hands using soap, particularly in times of need.

In 2008, the first Global Handwashing Day was observed. Since then, this national holiday has been used to raise awareness of the importance of having clean hands among both local and national officials and influencers. This is an extremely important message—hand washing is such a basic habit, but it can actually change everything and save lives. Global Handwashing Day keeps expanding. Schools, governments, international organizations, private businesses, civil society groups, and more support it.

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Significance of Handwashing

The best and least expensive strategy to stop diarrhea and acute respiratory infections is to wash your hands with soap. The leading cause of death for kids under five is pneumonia, a serious ARI (acute respiratory infection), which claims an estimated 1.8 million lives annually. Together, diarrhea and pneumonia cause over 3.5 million child fatalities each year. In children under the age of five, handwashing with soap is thought to lower instances of diarrhea by 30% and respiratory infections by 21%.

More lives will be saved by developing the practice of washing hands with soap before meals and after using the restroom than by any vaccination or medical treatment combined, decreasing fatalities from acute respiratory infections by 25% and diarrhea deaths by virtually half.

As a component of WASH programs for water, sanitation, and hygiene, handwashing is frequently done in conjunction with other sanitation measures. Global Handwashing Day not only encourages kids to participate but also serves to increase awareness of the value of washing hands with soap.

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People must understand the value of good hygiene and form the habits necessary to practice it in order to maintain proper hygiene. Peer pressure is a key factor in rising handwashing rates. Researchers in Kenya discovered that when another student is present, students are far more likely to wash their hands. However, peer influence is only effective when students are aware that washing their hands is a good habit.

Global Handwashing Day: Importance

According to the Global Handwashing Partnership, pneumonia and diarrhea are the two main causes of death for children under the age of five worldwide. One of the most efficient and affordable ways to prevent these diseases is by washing your hands with soap.

A 2018 UNICEF and WHO global evaluation revealed that handwashing sinks with water and soap are absent from 53% of schools globally. According to another research, 443 million school days are lost worldwide each year due to illnesses associated with water.

According to Jon Dommisse, director of the strategy and corporate development at Bradley Corp., “without handwashing facilities in schools, children become more predisposed to all types of illnesses, impacting their capacity to study, grow, and flourish.”One of the finest methods to safeguard the health and education of our children is through routine handwashing with soap and water.

The Global Handwashing Partnership advises washing hands after handling excrement (such as after using the restroom or cleaning a child) and before handling food for the best health advantages, especially for kids (preparing food, eating, or feeding a child).

Additionally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advise handwashing:

  • After sneezing, coughing, or blowing your nose
  • After interaction with an animal, livestock feed, or animal manure
  • After preparing pet food or animal treats
  • after handling trash

Although American schoolchildren have considerably easier access to handwashing stations, this does not always imply that the students are using them. According to the Bradley Corporation’s Healthy Hand Washing Survey, just 60% of high school students say they always wash their hands before leaving the washroom. The lack of soap or paper towels, lack of time, unclean or broken sinks, and lack of soap are the top excuses given by students for not washing their hands.

Even though the majority of schools don’t, they might think about posting handwashing reminders. According to the survey, 57% of students said a notice in the bathroom would encourage them to wash their hands. A straightforward reminder can have a positive effect, combined with soap and water, adds Dommisse.

The Global Handwashing Partnership, an alliance of the public and private sectors, highlights the importance of washing hands with soap and water to prevent acute respiratory infections and diarrhea in people of all ages. Only 19% of individuals worldwide wash their hands after using the restroom or changing a child’s diaper. In some regions of the world, just one or two percent of crucial situations that potentially prevent infection involve handwashing with soap.

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