Hands across the world will unite on Saturday, October 15 in a global mission to save lives.
The beauty of Global Handwashing Day is how it brings together people of all backgrounds, ethnicities and nationalities together in an educational cause to protect the world’s people from the fury of infectious bacteria and germs.
Founded by the Global Public-Private Partnership for Handwashing, Global Handwashing Day is an annual global advocacy day is dedicated to increasing awareness and understanding about the importance of handwashing with soap as an easy, effective and affordable way to prevent diseases and save lives.
In its ninth year, GHD has fostered and supported global and local handwashing cultures and shined a spotlight on the state of handwashing around the world. Each year, over 200 million people in over 100 countries take part in Global Handwashing Day. The influential event has also fostered sink building campaigns across the globe. Most importantly, Global Handwashing Day has educated millions of children on the health value and importance of clean hands.
The theme for this year’s Global Handwashing Day is “Make Handwashing A Habit!” After all for handwashing to be effective, it must be practiced consistently at critical moments throughout the day, such as after using the restroom and eating.
According to World Health Organization research, the simple, easily accessible action of washing hands with soap can reduce childhood mortality rates related to respiratory and diarrheal diseases by almost 25 and 50 percent, respectively.
In economically challenged countries, handwashing with soap has proven to be a savior for millions of children at risk for acquiring diarrhea and pneumonia, which together account for almost 3.5 million child deaths annually. Health statistics show handwashing with soap reduces incidents of diarrhea by 30 percent and respiratory infections by 21 percent in children under the age of five.
But handwashing with soap doesn’t work in the big picture unless people make it a daily habit. Global Handwashing Day is an important reminder for all of us that the power to save our own lives and the lives of countless others lies in our owns hands, and requires only soap, water and awareness.