New Delhi: October 15 is marked as the Global Handwashing Day, a day dedicated to increasing awareness and understanding of the importance of handwashing with soap as an effective and affordable way to prevent diseases and save lives. According to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), over 1.5 million children under the age of five die each year as a result of diarrhoea. It is the second most common cause of child deaths worldwide. Handwashing with soap at critical times (including before eating or preparing food and after using the toilet) can reduce this risk by more than 40 per cent.
Today, as the world celebrates Global Handwashing Day, here is all you need to know about the day.
History Of Global Handwashing Day 2019
Back in 2008, Global Handwashing Day was initiated by the Global Handwashing Partnership (GHP) at the annual World Water Week in Stockholm, Sweden. October 15, was officially appointed by the UN General Assembly as the day when the world will mark Global Handwashing Day. The motto was to reduce childhood mortality rates and related respiratory and diarrhoeal diseases by introducing simple behavioral changes, such as handwashing with soap.
Also Read: The Crisis Of Diarrhoea In India
Theme For Global Handwashing Day 2019
Since 2008, Global Handwashing Day is celebrated with a specific theme. The first theme for Global Handwashing Day was ‘School Children’ and this year it is “Clean Hands for All”.
Why Handwashing Is Necessary
Handwashing with soap has been cited as one of the most cost-effective interventions to prevent deadly diseases. UNICEF states that many studies have shown that handwashing in institutions such as primary schools and daycare centers reduce the incidence of diarrhoea by an average of 30 per cent. UNICEF further states that handwashing with soap by birth attendants and mothers significantly increased newborn survival rates by up to 44 per cent.
Handwashing – Make It A Daily Routine And Save Lives
- Handwashing should be practised as a daily habit and routine. Experts recommend washing hands with soap after using a washroom, before and after cooking and eating and petting an animal.
- Keep a hand sanitiser handy with you to make sure you never have unclean hands.
- Start a conversation around it – discuss handwashing with your children and teach them the importance. The more people become aware about the practice, more lives can be saved.