Global Handwashing Day is an international handwashing promotion campaign dedicated to advocating for handwashing with soap as an effective and affordable way to prevent diseases and save lives. It also aims at motivating and mobilizing people around the world to improve their handwashing habits. This day is also dedicated to increasing awareness and understanding the importance of handwashing.
According to The Global Handwashing Partnership (GHP), a coalition of international stakeholders working to promote handwashing with soap and recognize hygiene as a pillar of international development and public health, this day is an opportunity to design, test and replicate creative ways to encourage people to wash their hands at critical times. As a result, Handwashing Day was founded by the Global Handwashing Partnership in 2008 and over 120 million children washed their hands with soap in more than 70 countries. Global Handwashing Day has since been celebrated on 15th October every year.
This year’s theme is “Our Future is at Hand – Let’s Move Forward Together,” The theme calls for coordinated action as we actively work towards universal hand hygiene and reducing illnesses caused by poor hand hygiene. This is why handwashing is so important. In the advent of Covid-19, we, therefore, need to wash our hands at key times to kill the coronavirus. These key times include:
- After using the bathroom
- When preparing food
- Before eating and after eating
- After changing the baby’s diapers
- After coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose
Community and national leaders have used Global Handwashing Day to spread the word about handwashing across the community. They have built sinks and tippy taps, to demonstrate the simplicity and value of clean hands. This has grown with the Covid-19 pandemic still in many countries. People have to wash their hands to get rid of the virus and prevent it from spreading. Since 2008, Global Handwashing Day has continued to grow and it has since been celebrated across the globe. It is endorsed by governments, schools, international institutions, civil companies, individuals, and more.
The three pillars of Global Handwashing Day are Health, Hygiene, and Sanitation. Washing our hands regularly can help to prevent the spread of Covid-19 and diseases such as diarrhoea which affects both the young and old in vulnerable areas that lack water.
Below are proper steps to follow when washing hands:
- First, wet your hands with clean running water – the warmer the better.
- Secondly, cup your hands and apply soap lathering well. While gently doing this step, close the tap while doing this step to save on water.
- After applying soap, these steps are critical, rub your hands together vigorously.
- Wash the palms, backs, nails, and nail beds.
- In between fingers up to your wrists. While doing so, sing “Happy Birthday’ in your head. which takes 20 seconds and is the recommended length of your wash.
- Lastly, rinse and dry your hands thoroughly. Use a clean towel to turn off the faucet. If you are in a public bathroom, use a paper towel to open the bathroom door as well.
Benefits of proper Hand Washing
- Keeps the workplace healthy. According to Control for Disease Centre (CDC) Once a workmate gets sick, it’s not long before everyone else is under the weather. Seemly handwashing by all employees can hugely reduce the spread of illness.
- Maintains healthy children. By teaching children how to correctly wash their hands reduces the spread of diseases. Most susceptible places are day-care centers, schools, and at home. Sometimes, tiny hands come into contact with hundreds of different objects and surfaces daily. Keeping them clean and germ-free helps children, teachers, parents, and everyone to stay safe. It reduces absenteeism due to gastrointestinal illness in schoolchildren by 29-57%.
- Counteracts infections through the eyes, nose, and mouth. We touch our face up to four times an hour. By washing our hands often, we lower the risk of infection especially Covid-19 and other diseases. handwashing reduces the rate of respiratory illness like flu by 16-21%.
- Dropping survival rate of lingering bacteria. Proper handwashing kills bacterial over time making our hands germ-free. It reduces the number of people who get sick with diarrhoea by 23-40%.
- Fewer food-borne illnesses include food poisoning, vomiting, cramping, and diarrhoea and they can all be prevented by washing our hands.
We can all practice proper hand hygiene to ensure everyone stays healthy. Let’s all wash our hands regularly. With the Covid-19 pandemic still around, tippy taps and sinks have been set up to minimize the spread of the virus and at the same time to ensure we are safe.
As we celebrate this day, MYDAWA has been playing an active role in ensuring that necessary handwashing items are available. For example, you can purchase Dettol skincare antibacterial handwash, Lifebuoy Hand Wash and Alison Antibacterial Handwash from MYDAWA and get delivery at your doorstep. Let’s all come out on 15th October to celebrate Handwashing Day and minimize the spread of the Covid-19 virus and other diseases.0