New Delhi: May 5 is marked annually as World Hand Hygiene Day by the World Health Organization (WHO). WHO started this global campaign called “Save Lives: Clean Your Hands’ back in 2009, which later became an annual celebration as World Hand Hygiene Day.
Hand hygiene has proven to save millions of lives every year. It is the best way to prevent infections and antimicrobial resistance. This year, the WHO has called for building a culture of safety and quality in which hand hygiene improvement is given high priority.
To commemorate the day, Dettol-Banega Swasth India conducted a special ‘Swachhata Ki Paathshala’ with former cricketer Suresh Raina, to spread the message of hand hygiene among children. There are no better agents of change than children, because they are the ones to spread the message at home and in the community.
Mr. Raina spoke to them about the importance of regular hand washing to avoid falling sick, keep germs away, and also avoid the spread of germs to others.
The Paathshala was joined by Priyanka Raina, Co-Founder of Maate, and Mohammed Asif, Executive Director, PLAN India.
The Paathshala was inclusive of fun games that taught students about maintaining good hand hygiene. They started off by playing the game called ‘Snake Ladder’. The objective of the game was to navigate one’s game piece, according to dice rolls, from the start to the finish, helped by climbing ladders but hindered by snakes. The ladder and snakes were reflections of good and bad hygienic habits.
Mr. Raina said that school plays a significant role in inculcating healthy habits among children.
I am sure this Paathshala will bear fruitful results and help children understand how essential it is to wash hands and maintain personal hygiene both at home and in school. The initiative taken by NDTV-Dettol Banega Swasth India has a huge role to play in it.
Dettol Banega Swasth India’s ‘Swasthya Mantra’ Video Podcast
Mr. Raina also launched the Dettol Banega Swasth India video podcast, India’s first ever public health and hygiene podcast – Swasthya Mantra.
The video podcast has 32 various episodes explaining the importance of hand hygiene, why it is important, and when it is important to wash hands through engaging stories.
Talking about the aim of India’s first public health and hygiene video podcast, Ravi Bhatnagar, Director, External Affairs & Partnerships, SOA, Reckitt, said that handwashing remains one of the essential tools for good health, and Reckitt was committed to spreading the message in an engaging manner.
The podcasts are very well conceived and thought of. These video podcasts are based on the new education policy. The whole content is based on the basic foundation of hygiene at home, hygiene in the neighbourhood, personal hygiene, and hygiene during illness. I would like to thank NDTV for bringing our ideas to life.
The ‘Swasthya Mantra’ video podcasts are available in two languages – English and Hindi, however, Reckitt is committed to launching the podcasts in more regional languages.
Talking about his journey as a sportsman, Mr. Raina said that hygiene has always been of top priority for him, and he wanted to convey the same message to the children.
A sportsman lives a disciplined life, and we have to look out for a lot of measures related to health and hygiene. In the last three years, ever since the coronavirus hit the country, I have adhered to all the protocols while playing a match, be it regularly changing the gloves, washing hands after wearing a knee pad, or shaking hands with someone. I believe these habits helped me avoid contact with any infection. There are so many other ways you can look after your body, and handwashing is one of the easiest and most effective ways.
Maate’s Co-Founder and wife of the former cricketer, Priyanka Raina, said that awareness plays a pivotal role in conveying a health message.
It is important to make sure that children are taught about the importance of hygiene from the beginning. But raising awareness about a necessary behaviour change can be done through action. The children will only adapt to the habits that are followed by the adults at home. So if we want them to adhere to healthy and hygienic habits and regularly wash their hands, we need to initiate the act.
Both Suresh Raina and Priyanka Raina have been extensively working towards delivering the message of hand hygiene and sanitation and they have worked on more than 30 schools in Uttar Pradesh for the same. The duo has built toilets and provided clean drinking water in these schools.
Reckitt has also been working on spreading the message of hand hygiene through their School Hygiene Education Programme. Over the years, the curriculum has revolutionised the understanding and practice of hand hygiene through impactful, innovative interventions, from distributing Hygiene Buddy Kits to teaching the science of hygiene through comic books. The aim of the programme was to teach and embed habits at an early stage so that the behaviour and learnings can change and impact the lives of a growing generation.
Talking about the programme, Mohammed Asif from PLAN India said,
The whole idea is to bring about a behavioural change, and this hygiene programme has been trying to do the same since 2014. We started with the ambition of touching 2,500 schools, and today the outreach has reached 8,40,000 schools. With this, we have communicated with nearly 2.5 crore students.
In the previous years, there were 11 per cent children in schools across India practising hand hygiene but today the number has increased to 82 per cent, Ms. Asif said.
We have seen the change on the ground.
In the Paathshala, the guests also unveiled Dettol’s DIY Hygiene Workbooks. These books are for Grade 1 to Grade 3 students for the academic year 2023. Mr. Bhatnagar said,
The DIY workbook is a two-stage curriculum, and it is for students from government, government-aided, as well as private schools. We want to deliver the message of hand hygiene to all the students, because hygiene does not see rich and poor, it is for everyone.
The workbooks are all about safety, choices, and hygiene habits that children should follow in order to live a healthy life. The foundation of these books is the fact that good health and hygiene set the road for physical, mental well-being and ensures we are moving ahead to achieve the goal of building a Swasth India.
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 or healthy India.