Hand hygiene for all

By Z. K
Tue, 10, 20

Until Covid-19 happened, handwashing and its importance in helping prevent the spread of diseases is something that most of us probably never gave much thought to.....

global handwashing day

If you think that not washing your hands after leaving the bathroom is disgusting, then you’ll probably be surprised at how many people don’t wash their hands daily. “Wash your hands before eating dinner!” is something many of us grew up hearing from our parents. We may have grumbled, but we learned from an early age the importance of washing our hands. But what we may not have learned is exactly why hand hygiene is so important.

Until Covid-19 happened, handwashing and its importance in helping prevent the spread of diseases is something that most of us probably never gave much thought to. But the global pandemic has really shone a light on the importance of handwashing.

Why handwashing is so important…

  • As simple as it may seem, proper handwashing remains the most effective way of removing germs and harmful bacteria from our hands. When washing hands with soap and water, scrub all surfaces for a minimum of 20 seconds.
  • People frequently touch their face - eyes, nose, mouth - without even realizing it. Germs can easily enter the body through touching your face, so having clean hands is important!
  • Germs living on unwashed hands can get on food and drinks while you eat or cook. Some of these germs may multiply in some types of food or drink and make people sick. That is why handwashing is so important, especially during key times such as after using the bathroom, when preparing food, before eating, and after coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose.
  • Germs on your unwashed hands can transfer onto surfaces, such as your children’s toys, handrails, or doorknobs. We are living through a particularly trying time with the Covid-19 pandemic, and hand washing is more important than ever as we all strive to stay healthy.
  • Be sure to wash your hands frequently throughout the day, particularly when you’ve left home, are handling food, or have been in contact with outside surfaces such as doorknobs, public buses, and hand railings.
  • Do keep in mind that the use of gloves does not eliminate the need to wash hands. To protect your health, it is recommended you wash your hands as often as necessary.
  • The simple act of washing hands with soap can reduce the incidence of diarrhoea rates among children under five by almost 50 per cent, and respiratory infections by nearly 25 per cent.

Global Handwashing Day

Handwashing is a regular practice that you do every day, but on October 15 you should put just a little more thought to it as it is Global Handwashing Day, a day where good hygiene is encouraged and practiced all around the world by millions of people. Global Handwashing Day (GHD) is an international handwashing promotion campaign to motivate and mobilize people around the world to improve their handwashing habits.

GHD is designed to foster and support a global and local culture of handwashing with soap and shine a spotlight on the state of handwashing around the world. The day increases awareness and understanding about the vital importance of handwashing with soap as an easy, effective, and affordable way to prevent the spread of illness and save lives.

This year’s theme - ‘Hand Hygiene for All’ - highlights the elevated importance of handwashing during the Covid-19 pandemic as a method to prevent the spread of the virus. To beat the virus today and ensure better health outcomes beyond the pandemic, governments, businesses, donors, institutions, researchers, and individuals alike must make handwashing with soap for all a priority now and in the future.

History of Global Handwashing Day

This campaign, established by the Global Handwashing Partnership in 2008, was made to help motivate people to improve their hand washing habits. This day was promoted by the UN General Assembly when its first event took place during World Water Week in Stockholm, Sweden. World Water Week is a week-long global water conference that addresses the issues of sustainability with water consumption and development. The focus for Global Handwashing Day was school children. This global advocacy day successfully reigned in with over 120 million children around the world participating in better hand care in over 70 countries around the world.

Since the first Global Handwashing Day in 2008, community and national leaders have used Global Handwashing Day to spread awareness about the value of clean hands, built sinks and tippy taps, and have demonstrated the simplicity and value of clean hands. Global Handwashing Day continues to grow. It’s endorsed by schools, governments, international institutions, private companies, civil society organisations, and more.

How to Celebrate Global Handwashing Day

As the world marks Global Handwashing Day while fighting the Covid-19 global pandemic, handwashing has never been more important. Keeping up a routine of washing your hands after you eat or leave the bathroom can reduce the risks of diseases more so that vaccines and medications. Washing your hands during this day can also cultivate others to keep their hygiene up. You can also hashtag #globalhandwashingday on social media and look up statistics of how handwashing can easily prevent infectious diseases and share that information with your friends.

This year’s theme reminds us that we must work toward universal access and practice of handwashing with soap for now and for a healthy future. Hand washing is such a simple practice, but it really can make all the difference and save lives. Washing your hands thoroughly and frequently will help keep you – and your loved ones – healthier.