New Delhi: October 15 is marked as Global Handwashing Day, with the aim of increasing awareness and understanding about the importance of handwashing with soap as an effective and affordable way to prevent diseases and save lives. The world has leveraged the lessons from the last two years since the coronavirus outbreak took a toll on everyone.
As the world moves beyond COVID-19 to a new normal, it is time we accelerate hand hygiene progress to prevent any kind of infection, and it requires a collective effort to enact real change.
Additionally, the day is an opportunity to encourage people to maintain personal hygiene, including washing their hands, using hand sanitizers, and other appropriate toiletries. The day also observes government efforts in designing and replicating the hygiene message among its citizens.
History And Significance
The day was founded by the Global Handwashing Partnership, a coalition of international stakeholders who work explicitly to promote handwashing with soap. The first Global Handwashing Day was held in 2008, when over 120 million children around the world washed their hands with soap in more than 70 countries. Since then, Global Handwashing Day has continued to grow.
It is endorsed by governments, schools, international institutions, civil society organizations, NGOs, private companies and individuals.
Global Handwashing Day 2022 Theme
This year’s theme, “Unite for Universal Hand Hygiene”, calls on all of society to work together as we scale up hand hygiene and it reminds us that we are united in our vision for universal access and practice of hand hygiene. No matter your role, you can celebrate Global Handwashing Day.
Here are some of the benefits of handwashing:
- Handwashing with soap can reduce diarrhoeal diseases by 30 per cent
- It can reduce acute respiratory infections by up to 20 per cent
- Handwashing plays a significant role in reducing the transmission of outbreak-related pathogens such as cholera, Ebola, shigellosis, SARS, hepatitis E, and COVID-19.
- Hand hygiene is protective against healthcare-associated infections
- It can also help reduce the spread of antimicrobial resistance.
- It contributes to the reduction of Neglected Tropical Diseases.
- It can also help prevent the spread of hospital acquired infections (HAIs)
- Among students, handwashing can also reduce the rates of school absenteeism.
Regularly practising handwashing can contribute to an individual’s well-being, increase productivity, and much more. Good hand hygiene is the foundation of disease prevention and control.
NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via the Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ population, indigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, which is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth