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Global Hand Hygiene Day: In Times Of COVID-19 Pandemic Handwashing Remains Effective Prevention, Says WHO

The World Health Organisation (WHO) celebrates May 5 as Global Handwashing Day every year to mobilize people around the world to increase adherence to hand hygiene. Now with the COVID-19 outbreak there is a renewed emphasis on ensuring hand hygiene. According to doctors, handwashing is extremely important to keep hands infection-free and thus preventing the spread of pathogen like coronavirus. It recommends washing hand with soap and water or using alcohol-based sanitiser.

This year, the theme of the Global Hand Hygiene Day campaign is 'SAVE LIVES: Clean your hands'. The goal of the campaign is to recognize that handwashing is one of the most effective actions you can take to reduce the spread of pathogens and prevent infections, including the COVID-19 virus. According to WHO, health workers and community members alike can play a role in preventing infections by practising regular and frequent handwashing.

The Global Hand Hygiene Day calls for making hand hygiene an international priority by inspiring behaviour change

The right way to wash hands: Take some soap. Create a lather. Clean the back of hands, in between fingers, the end of fingers, thumb, palms, wrist and the top of hand again. Rinse the soap from hands. Turn off the tap with a tissue to prevent cross-contamination. Discard the tissue into a bin. It should take around 20 seconds to wash hands properly.

According to doctors, washing hands with soap and water or using an alcohol-based hand rub kills viruses that may be on hands. It is advised to wash hands more frequently and WHO recommends washing hand after coughing or sneezing, when caring for the sick, before, during and after preparing food, before eating, after toilet use, after handling animals or animal waste and when hands are visibly dirty.

The Global Hand Hygiene Day also makes a call to action to policy-makers to provide safe work environments for nurses and to empower them in providing clean care by strengthening handwashing infrastructure. The campaign also calls the people to participate in WHO's ongoing #SafeHandsChallenge in which various celebrities like Sachin Tendulkar, Deepkia Padukone and Anushka Sharma have also participated earlier

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