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World Hand Hygiene Day: The Day Dedicated To The Importance Of Hand Hygiene In Health Care And To Remind That Clean Hands Save Lives

May 5 is celebrated as World Hand Hygiene Day with an aim to promote the need for proper handwashing to health workers around the world and to bring people together in support of hand hygiene improvement globally

World Hand Hygiene Day 2021: The Day Dedicated To The Importance Of Hand Hygiene In Health Care And To Remind That Clean Hands Save Lives
  • Led by WHO, the World Hand Hygiene Day was launched in 2009
  • It aims to promote hand hygiene among health care workers and others
  • WHO calls on healthcare workers to achieve effective hand hygiene this year

New Delhi: Simple act of handwashing using soap and water can reduce the likelihood of COVID-19 infection by 36 per cent, according to UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund). According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), hand hygiene is one of the most important measures to prevent the transmission of pathogens including COVID-19 in hospitals and elsewhere. To stress on the need for handwashing among health care workers and other people around the world, WHO started a global campaign called “Save Lives: Clean Your Hands” in 2009. This campaign is celebrated annually as World Hand Hygiene Day 2021 on May 5.

Also Read: Rotary International Has Implemented Water, Sanitation And Hygiene Facilities In Over 30,000 Schools, Here’s How

While talking about hand hygiene in a video message for the World Hand Hygiene Day 2021, Dr Zsuzsanna Jakab, WHO Deputy Director-General said,

Effective hand hygiene prevents any infection acquired in health care, the spread of antimicrobial resistance and other emerging health threats.

Antimicrobial resistance, according to WHO, occurs when bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites change over time and no longer respond to medicines making infections harder to treat and increasing the risk of disease spread, severe illness and death.

World Hand Hygiene Day 2021 Theme: Achieving Hand Hygiene At The Point Of Care

On the importance and theme of the World Hand Hygiene Day 2021, global hand hygiene expert Professor Didier Pittet highlighted in WHO’s video message that by increasing hand hygiene, it is possible to prevent up to 50 per cent of avoidable infections transmitted at the point of care. A point of care is the place where three elements come together: the patient, the health care worker, and treatment involving contact with the patient, as per WHO. Professor Pittet said,

Infections acquired at the point of care affect millions of patients and health workers every year. Yet, compliance with hand hygiene best practices is only around 10 per cent during care of critically ill patients in low-income countries while in high-income countries is rarely exceeds 60 to 70 per cent. The most vulnerable community around the world lack access to basic hand hygiene facilities. A WHO report published last year shows that one in four health care facilities lack basic water facilities and one in three health care facilities lack hand hygiene facilities at the point of care.

He further said that to help bridge these gaps this year, WHO’s ‘Save Lives: Clean Your Hands’ campaign focuses on achieving effective hand hygiene action at the point of care. He asserted,

Hand Hygiene- this action that takes just a few seconds does save lives.

The slogan for this year is ‘Seconds save lives – clean your hands! ‘

Also Read: Under Its ‘Health Cannot Wait’ Campaign, NGO Smile Foundation Is Promoting Hygiene And Sanitation Amid COVID-19

Promoting Implementation Of WHO 2020 Recommendation For Universal Hand Hygiene

The WHO has said that this year, the World Hand Hygiene Day is strongly connected with the ‘Hand Hygiene for All’ initiative that it started along with UNICEF in June 2020 with an aim to consistently improve hand hygiene facilities and practices as a whole of society approach. WHO has recommended the following to its member states to help improve hand hygiene practices:

1. Providing universal access to public hand hygiene stations and making their use obligatory on entering and leaving any public or private commercial building and any public transport facility.

2. Improving access to hand hygiene facilities and practices in health care facilities.

Hand Hygiene And COVID-19

According to WHO, COVID-19 primarily spreads through droplet and contact transmission. Contact transmission means by touching infected people and/or contaminated objects or surfaces. Thus, hands have a crucial role in the spread of coronavirus. Maintaining hand hygiene has been proven as an effective defence against the COVID-19 transmission, WHO has underlined on multiple occasions. Dr Jakab said,

In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, good hand hygiene practices are tremendously important to prevent the risk of transmission, as part of a comprehensive package of public health measures.

Calls To Action This Year

WHO calls upon policymakers to provide the necessary infrastructure to allow people to effectively perform hand hygiene in public places and to support hand hygiene supplies in health care facilities.

It calls on health care workers and facilities to achieve effective hand hygiene action at the point of care. WHO has recommended the health care works to clean their hands:

– before touching a patient
– before clean/aseptic procedures
– after body fluid exposure
– after touching a patient
– after touching patients’ surroundings

It also calls upon the patients and the general public to clean their hands frequently and adopt it as a habit.

To the vaccinators that are involved in COVID-19 vaccination drives around the world, WHO has urged to clean hand after administering every vaccine. It has called upon them to take hand hygiene as one of the most critical matters in order to keep themselves and those receiving the vaccine safe.

Also Read: Opinion: Sustained Handwashing Behaviour In India – A Necessity During COVID-19 Pandemic

NDTV – Dettol Banega Swasth India campaign is an extension of the five-year-old Banega Swachh India initiative helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. It aims to spread awareness about critical health issues facing the country. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (WaterSanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign highlights the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children to prevent maternal and child mortality, fight malnutrition, stunting, wasting, anaemia and disease prevention through vaccines. Importance of programmes like Public Distribution System (PDS), Mid-day Meal Scheme, POSHAN Abhiyan and the role of Aganwadis and ASHA workers are also covered. 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 become a Swasth or healthy India. The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollutionwaste managementplastic banmanual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene


Coronavirus has spread to 195 countries. The total confirmed cases worldwide are 24,20,23,922 and 49,21,579 have died; 20,36,06,535 are active cases and 3,34,95,808 have recovered as on October 21, 2021 at 4:33 am.


3,41,27,450 18,454Cases
1,78,831 733Active
3,34,95,808 17,561Recovered
4,52,811 160Deaths
In India, there are 3,41,27,450 confirmed cases including 4,52,811 deaths. The number of active cases is 1,78,831 and 3,34,95,808 have recovered as on October 21, 2021 at 2:30 am.

State Details

State Cases Active Recovered Deaths

65,96,645 1,825

29,333 1,075

64,27,426 2,879

1,39,886 21


48,79,790 11,150

83,333 2,476

47,69,373 8,592

27,084 82


29,84,484 462

9,103 26

29,37,405 479

37,976 9

Tamil Nadu

26,90,633 1,170

14,058 268

26,40,627 1,418

35,948 20

Andhra Pradesh

20,61,810 523

5,566 88

20,41,924 608

14,320 3

Uttar Pradesh

17,10,058 11

112 6

16,87,048 17


West Bengal

15,82,813 867

7,491 63

15,56,315 795

19,007 9


14,39,466 25

310 12

14,14,066 37



10,36,532 559

4,387 106

10,23,849 451

8,296 2


10,05,735 34

185 3

9,91,979 36

13,571 1


9,54,393 1

38 0

9,45,401 1



8,26,340 14

176 9

8,16,077 22

10,087 1

Madhya Pradesh

7,92,709 9

82 3

7,82,104 6



7,71,116 15

133 7

7,60,934 8



7,26,036 3

30 12

7,16,345 15



6,69,556 191

3,968 28

6,61,646 162

3,942 1


6,07,427 308

3,610 25

5,97,859 282

5,958 1


6,02,113 32

232 16

5,85,331 15

16,550 1


3,48,486 25

142 14

3,43,209 11



3,43,773 8

176 1

3,36,199 6

7,398 1

Jammu And Kashmir

3,31,299 78

800 3

3,26,070 80

4,429 1

Himachal Pradesh

2,21,936 110

1,394 46

2,16,815 64



1,77,706 47

597 23

1,73,755 70



1,27,521 42

461 29

1,25,208 71



1,22,970 71

1,360 2

1,19,706 66

1,904 3


1,15,207 741

10,263 505

1,04,548 1,243

396 3


84,351 2

95 7

83,440 9



83,158 79

761 21

80,958 58



65,312 2

24 1

64,468 3


Arunachal Pradesh

55,043 12

138 7

54,625 19



31,800 17

175 6

31,232 22

393 1


31,659 18

255 8

30,728 10



20,886 3

34 0

20,644 3


Dadra And Nagar Haveli


2 2

10,670 2




0 0



Andaman And Nicobar Islands


7 1

7,510 1


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