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Global Handwashing Day is observed every year on October 15. It was founded by the Global Handwashing Partnership, an international coalition of organizations working to promote handwashing with soap. It is an annual global advocacy day dedicated to raise awareness about the benefits of handwashing with soap as an easy, effective, and affordable way to prevent diseases, promote health and save lives, but still it is not practiced as often or as thoroughly as it should be.

On each Global Handwashing Day, a theme is selected to encourage handwashing with soap beyond October 15. The 2019 Global Handwashing Day theme is “Clean Hands for All”.

The theme focuses on Sustainable Development Goal which is leave no one behind. The handwashing facilities and effective handwashing promotion programs should reach the core areas of the world without any inequality. This will decrease the risk of the diseases that impact the health, education, and the economic outcomes which is possible only by an inclusive approach without any disparity.

Few ways that can make handwashing a habit-

  • Wash your hands with soap at critical times, especially before eating, cooking, or feeding others.
  • Model good handwashing behavior, and remind or help others to always wash their hands before eating.
  • Make handwashing part of your family meals.
  • Establish places to wash your hands in the household, in your community, in schools, workplaces, and in health facilities.
  • Promote effective handwashing behavior change in research, policy, programs, and advocacy.

Impact of Handwashing with Soap-

  • 47% of diarrheal diseases preventable through handwashing.
  • 16% of respiratory infections preventable through handwashing.
  • 1:92 estimated return on investment of national handwashing behavior change program in India.
  • 40% reduction in healthcare associated infections with correct hand hygiene.

Steps to wash hands properly*:

  • Wet hands with water
  • Apply enough soap to cover all hand surfaces
  • Rub hands with palm to palm
  • Place right palm over left dorsum (back of hand) with interlaced fingers and vice versa
  • Put palm to palm with fingers interlaced
  • Backs of fingers to opposing palms with finger interlocked
  • Rotational rubbing of left thumb clasped in right palm and vice versa
  • Rotational rubbing, backwards and forwards with clasped fingers of right hand in left palm and vice versa
  • Rinse hands with water
  • Dry thoroughly with a single use towel or clean towel
  • Use towel (single use) to turn off faucet

Use alcohol-based handrub if you don’t have immediate access to soap and water.

Swachh Bharat Mission** launched by the Prime Minister of India on 2nd October, 2014 aims to achieve a Swachh Bharat by 2019 with a mass movement for cleanliness.

Global Handwashing Day 2018