Global Handwashing Day (GHD) is celebrated annually on October 15. Since its inception in 2008, Global Handwashing Day has remained a joint initiative between the WHO (World Health Organization) and the UN (United Nations), with its chief objective being spreading awareness about the mandatory need for thorough cleansing and washing of hands, to keep infections at bay.

global handwashing day 2019

The WHO and UN define a handwashing facility as one that is equipped with a sink or similar basin, along with a water source such as a tap and a dispenser or case with soap.

Current statistics based on the WHO - UN joint committee's research analysis indicate that only about 60 percent of the global population has access to such fundamental hand washing amenities. Furthermore, in developing countries, the figures are dismally low with an average of only 28 percent of people being able to obtain a means to reach a facility to clean their hands. Also Read: Clean Hands, The First Step To Good Health

The theme for this year's GHD is clean hands for all, which underscores the need for every single person to be able to easily find a way towards a handwashing system. This should ideally be the case, irrespective of geographical disparities like residing in urban or rural areas, as well as economic differences such as in the rich versus the poor.

In order to achieve equity in hand washing, it is not just the roles of the healthcare industry and policymakers that are integral and crucial, but also the general public, who must be aware of the importance and necessity to clean their hands with soap. It is our responsibility to inculcate proper hygiene practices not just amongst adults, but also in children so that future generations grow up to be healthy and fit.

5 Reasons To Clean Hands Thoroughly With Soap

Prevents Diarrhea:

One major ailment affecting nearly 2 million children worldwide annually, due to rampant unhygienic conditions in food processing areas, is diarrhea or irritable bowel syndrome. It is, therefore, a must for parents and teachers to teach kids to wash their hands with soap or a sterilizing liquid before meals after they eat and particularly after playing outdoors for a long time.

Avoids Nosocomial Infections:

It comes as no surprise that infections can be contracted just as easily in hospitals as in any other place. Hence, healthcare professionals, nurses, doctors, and all hospital workers must clean their hands thoroughly before performing any activities and especially when interacting with visitors, besides advising patients also to do the same.

Averts Respiratory Diseases:

Pneumonia is a life-threatening ARI (acute respiratory infection) that is a leading cause of mortality in children globally. Washing hands properly with water and a disinfectant soap can help keep the disease-causing germs away from afflicting kids. It is also vital to ensure that the little ones have easy access to a handwashing facility. Also Read: Cleaner Hands Mean Healthy You. The Importance Of Hand Hygiene

Stops Bacterial Infections:

The infectious agents namely bacteria, viruses, and fungi have also evolved over the years and become resistant to antibiotics and other medications. Naturally, treating these disorders is more complex than before. Hence, it is essential to clean hands properly, by both children and adults alike, to prevent contracting any serious illnesses.

Keeps You Disease Free:

Regardless of whether an individual is wealthy or living in poverty, or from a city or village, personal hygiene is often ignored and taken casually. Awareness drives must be conducted by health officials, to reiterate the significance of washing hands with soap at least twice a day, to ward off severe diseases and improve the overall quality of life.