Global Handwashing Day, observed on the 15th October, is dedicated to spreading awareness and increasing understanding about the importance of washing hands with soap as an effective and affordable means of preventing disease and ultimately saving lives.
Global Handwashing Day is endorsed by a wide array of governments, international institutions, civil society organizations, NGOs, private companies, and individuals; with over 200 million people being involved in celebrations in over 100 countries.
This year’s theme is “Make Handwashing a Habit!” It is estimated that an average person’s hands can carry at least 3,000 different types of bacteria. For handwashing to be effective it must therefore be practiced consistently and at key times, such as after using the toilet or before contact with food. Habits must be developed over time which is why this year’s theme emphasises the importance of handwashing as a ritual behaviour for long-term sustainability.
Two of the leading causes of child mortality are diarrheal diseases and pneumonia, killing millions of children under the age of 5 each year (WHO, 2015).
Handwashing with soap could prevent 1 out of every 3 episodes of diarrheal illnesses and almost 1 out of 6 episodes of respiratory infection like pneumonia.
Global Handwashing Day presents an opportunity to design, test, and replicate creative ways to encourage people to wash their hands with soap at critical times to foster and support a global culture of handwashing with soap, raise awareness about the benefits of handwashing with soap and save lives.
For more information please visit: http://globalhandwashing.org/global-handwashing-day/
Improving healthcare and access to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) is amongst the key topics at the 2nd annual Aid & Development Africa Summit. Taking place on 28 February-1 March 2017, over 70 expert speakers will share their insight and discuss best practice and innovations in WASH, WASH and hygiene in camps and settlements, as well as strategies to tackle communicable diseases and improve maternal and child health.