Global Handwashing Day
|Global Handwashing Day|
Logo used for Global Handwashing Day around the world. Shown in the image are water, soap, and hand.
|Celebrations||"Our hands, our future!"|
|Next time||15 October 2019|
|First time||15 October 2008|
|Related to||Menstrual hygiene day|
Global Handwashing Day (GHD) is a campaign to motivate and mobilize people around the world to improve their handwashing habits. Washing hands at critical points during the day and washing with soap are both important.
Global Handwashing Day occurs on 15 October of each year. The global campaign is dedicated to raising awareness of handwashing with soap as a key factor in disease prevention. Respiratory and intestinal diseases can be reduced by 25-50%.
Implementation and management
The Global Handwashing Partnership (GHP) (formerly called "Public Private Partnership for Handwashing" (PPPHW)) established Global Handwashing Day in 2008 as a way to promote a global and local vision of handwashing with soap.
Steering Committee members of the GHP include Colgate-Palmolive; FHI 360; The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine; Procter & Gamble; UNICEF; Unilever; University at Buffalo; USAID; the Water and Sanitation Programme at the World Bank; and the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council.
Continued research on handwashing habits and practices is commissioned in conjunction with GHD. In 2011, Svenska Cellulosa Aktiebolaget (SCA), sponsored a study to assess the handwashing habits of American and Canadian adults, finding that many were not using soap when washing their hands.
The aims of Global Handwashing Day are to:
- Foster and support a general culture of handwashing with soap in all societies
- Shine a spotlight on the state of handwashing in each country
- Raise awareness about the benefits of handwashing with soap.
Each year, over 200 million people celebrate Global Handwashing Day.
- On 15 October 2014, Madhya Pradesh won the Guinness World Record for the most massive handwashing program. There were 1,276,425 children in 51 different districts participating.
- Sometimes, groups choose to celebrate GHD on other dates than 15 October. In Ethiopia, 300 people celebrated Global Handwashing Day in Addis Ababa on 1 November in 2013.
- On 15 October 2015, Lupok Central Elementary School, Guiuan Eastern Samar, Philippines celebrated the Global Handwashing Day by doing the proper handwashing before starting classes.
Global Handwashing Day was initiated by the Global Handwashing Partnership (GHP) in August 2008 at the annual World Water Week in Stockholm, Sweden. This means that the first Global Handwashing Day took place on 15 October 2008. The date was appointed by the UN General Assembly. The year 2008 was also the International Year of Sanitation. The founding bodies in 2008 included: FHI360 (a nonprofit human development organization based in the US), US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Procter & Gamble, UNICEF, Unilever, World Bank Water & Sanitation Program and the United States Agency for International Development.
- The focus for Global Handwashing Day's inaugural year in 2008 was school children. In that year, the members pledged to get the maximum number of school children handwashing with soap in more than 70 countries. In India in 2008, cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar and his teammates joined an estimated 100 million schoolchildren around the country in lathering up for better health and hygiene as part of the first Global Handwashing Day.
- In 2014, Global Handwashing Day was used as an opportunity to fight Ebola. In Nigeria, for example, Concern Universal and Carex sponsored events featuring singer Sunny Neji.
- Theme for Global Handwashing Day, 2018: Clean hands - a recipe for health.
Theme for Global Handwashing Day 2018: Clean Hands- a recipe for health
The campaign was initiated to reduce childhood mortality rates and related respiratory and diarrheal diseases by introducing simple behavioral changes, such as handwashing with soap. This simple action can reduce the mortality rate of respiratory disease by 25%. Death from diarrheal diseases can be reduced by 50%. Across the world, more than 60 percent of health workers do not adhere to proper hand hygiene. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, US health care providers, on average, wash their hands less than half of the time they should. On any given day, one in 25 US hospital patients has at least one health care-associated infection.
Importance of handwashing
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Handwashing with soap is very effective and the least expensive way to prevent diarrhea and acute respiratory infections. Pneumonia, a major ARI (acute respiratory infection), is the number one cause of mortality among children under five years old, killing an estimated 1.8 million children per year. Diarrhea and pneumonia together account for almost 3.5 million child deaths annually. Handwashing with soap is estimated to reduce cases of diarrhea by 30% and respiratory infections by 21% in children under the age of five.
It is important to make handwashing into a habit. Good handwashing with soap before eating and after using the toilet into a regular habit can save more lives than any single vaccine or medical intervention, cutting deaths from diarrhea by almost half and deaths from acute respiratory infections by one-quarter.
The Global Handwashing Day helps raise awareness of the importance of washing with soap, but it also makes it fun for children to get involved.
Proper hygiene requires that individuals know the importance of good hygiene and develop the habits to carry it out. There are people with plenty of money but nonetheless, they lack the important habits of timely handwashing with soap, and thereby unknowingly endanger themselves and others around them.
Peer influence is significant to seeing increased handwashing among students. In a study conducted in Kenya, researchers found that students were much more likely to wash their hands when another student is present. Peer influence is only successful, however, when students know that handwashing is a desirable action.
Related awareness days
The World Health Organization (WHO) celebrates a World Hand Hygiene Day on 5 May. In 2018 the theme was prevention of sepsis in health care. The theme of the year before was to combat antibiotic resistance (AMR).
- Behaviour change (public health)
- Sustainable Sanitation Alliance
- World Toilet Day
- Menstrual hygiene day
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- "Hand Hygiene in Healthcare Settings". Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion (DHQP). May 3, 2018. Retrieved 23 October 2018.
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- Sawyer, Kem Knapp (10 October 2011). "Getting All Lathered Up". The Washington Post. Retrieved 24 July 2015 – via Regional Business News – EBSCO.
- Jeffrey Sachs; Myriam Sidibe (15 October 2014). "Global Handwashing Day in the Time of Ebola". Huffington Post.
- Pickering, Amy J.; Blum, Annalise G.; Breiman, Robert F.; Ram, Pavani K.; Davis, Jennifer (27 March 2014). "Video Surveillance Captures Student Hand Hygiene Behavior, Reactivity to Observation, and Peer Influence in Kenyan Primary Schools". PLoS ONE. 9 (3): e92571. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0092571. PMC 3968003. PMID 24676389.
- "Infection prevention and control". World Health Organization. Retrieved 4 May 2018.
- "Infection prevention and control". World Health Organization. Retrieved 4 May 2018.
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