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Global Handwashing Day – Hygiene for children

Global Handwashing Day occurs on October 15 every year. The main aim of this day is to motivate and mobilize people around the world to improve their handwashing habits. Using soap while washing hands, at critical points during the day, is very important.

The main focus of this day is to increase awareness and understand the importance and effectiveness of washing hands with soap. Washing hands is an easy and affordable way to save lives and prevent diseases.

Global Handwashing Day – Aims

Global Handwashing Day provides an opportunity to creatively encourage people to wash their hands with soap at important times during the day.

The aim of this day is to:

  • encourage and support the habit of washing hands with soap
  • bring to focus the condition of handwashing across the world
  • share knowledge about the benefits of handwashing with soap.

History

The first Global Handwashing Day was observed on October 15, 2008. Over 120 million children across more than 70 countries participated in the celebrations by washing their hands with soap.

Since then, community and national leaders have used this particular day to spread the word about the benefits of handwashing.

Global Handwashing Day has the support of a number of governments, NGOs, private companies and individuals. Even international institutions and civil society organizations have lent their support to this cause.

Reasons for washing hands

Children are naturally curious and tend to explore things by touch. This exposes them to all sorts of germs and bacteria which could make them fall ill.

Germs are transmitted by contact with others and when one touches surfaces such as door handles and toilet flushes. The simplest way to help avoid illnesses is through effective hand washing.

Since early childhood, we have been taught to wash our hands with soap. However, only four out of five people wash their hands after visiting the washroom.

Washing hands with water alone does not get rid of all the germs and bacteria. To effectively clean hands and sanitise them, one must wash hands with water and soap

Children should be taught the right way to wash their hands, both at home and in school. The proper and most effective way to wash hands is to wet, lather, scrub, rinse and dry. The best way to teach the right handwashing technique is to make it fun and engaging for the child. Washing hands with soap will increase overall hand hygiene and prevent most diseases.

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