The easiest and most effective way to maintain our health and keep the germs away is by washing our hands regularly with soap and water.
The need for handwashing has gained all the more important after the outbreak of Covid-19. This is something that has saved the lives of many and kept them safe. Apart from this, handwashing can prevent the spread of viral infections and flu.
Global Handwashing Day is celebrated across the globe on October 15 as a reminder that handwashing is an important aspect of our lives in order to stay safe and healthy. Just soap and water can do wonders for you. This is one of the best ways to prevent ourselves from getting sick and spreading germs to others.
Global Handwashing Day History & Significance
Global Handwashing Day was first celebrated in the year 2008 in Stockholm, Sweden, by the Global Handwashing Partnership. The year was also surprisingly the International year of sanitation. The UN General Assembly then announced October 15 as the Global Handwashing Day.
Handwashing can simply reduce the number of sick children. Teaching people the importance of hand hygiene can help:
Reduce 23-40% of people getting sick from diarrhea.
Reduce 29-57% of people suffering from gastrointestinal problems.
Reduce 58% of people suffering from weakened immune systems.
Reduce respiratory illnesses and infections by 16-21%.
Global Handwashing Day Theme
This year the theme is “Our future is at hand- let’s move forward together”. The theme marks the importance of universal hand hygiene. Together we can work towards achieving health goals.
And when we work together, we have to keep a check on our hand hygiene as we tend to spread germs and make people sick when we don’t wash our hands regularly with soap and water.
Handwashing is especially important before and after having our meal, after using the washroom, after coughing or sneezing.
This year’s theme will address the same and make the world aware of the crucial benefits of washing hands regularly.
Here is a list of some previous years’ themes:
2020 – Hand Hygiene for All
2019 – Clean Hands for All
2018 – Clean hands – a recipe for health
2017 – Our hands, our future
2016 – Make handwashing a habit
How is Global Handwashing Day Celebrated?
People across the globe celebrate Global Handwashing Day in different ways. You can promote this day by indulging in various activities like:
- You can participate in various Handwashing campaigns or watch campaign videos.
- You can learn ways and methods to wash hands the right way and maintain personal hygiene.
- You can demonstrate the same to others and make them aware of how important hand hygiene is.
- You can post messages and videos on your social media handles and promote Global Handwashing Day.
- Buy handwashing posters to encourage yourself and others in your family to maintain your hand hygiene.
Do you know?
- Only 60% of the total global population is provided with a basic handwashing facility.
- Only 28% of people in the least developed countries in the world have access to basic handwashing facilities. In Liberia, only 1% of people are provided with such facilities.
- Only 0.1% of people have soap and water in Ethiopia whereas in Iraq 91% of the total population have these. Around 10 million people from 17 countries still lack in accessing handwashing facilities.
- With people living in rural areas, only 34% of people have access to such facilities.
- The most challenging thing for a person with a disability is that of using wash facilities and approximately 15% of people around the world have a disability.
- Only 53% of the total schools in the world provide basic handwashing facilities, which accounts for 900 million schools without basic handwashing facilities.