Some of you may wonder if it is worth having a day to celebrate washing our hands, which may sound insignificant yet integral to one’s daily routine. Despite it being a simple mundane act, the significance of handwashing was acknowledged by the public recently with the Covid-19 pandemic.
Moreover, it has been considered one of the most effective and inexpensive ways of preventing diseases such as diarrheal diseases and pneumonia for years. Likewise, Global Handwashing Day is celebrated annually on the 15th of October, to motivate people worldwide to improve their handwashing habits which is a key life-saving behavior.
The Global Handwashing Partnership (GHP) initiated the Global Handwashing Day in 2008 to establish a global and local vision of washing hands with soap, which was appointed by the UN general assembly. Yet, the trace of this initiation runs back to the 1980s, with the initial hand hygiene regulations being published nationally and the GHP creating the Global Handwashing Day at World Water week in Stockholm, Sweden. The campaign was initiated to reduce childhood mortality rates and related respiratory and diarrheal diseases by introducing washing hands as a habit. Likewise, the studies showed that this simple action can reduce respiratory disease mortality rate by 25% and the deaths of diarrheal diseases by 50%. Since then, Global Handwashing Day has continued to grow, even achieving world recognition as in the celebration in Madhya Pradesh (an Indian state), which won the Guinness World Record for the most massive handwashing program with 1,276,425 children in 51 different districts participating.
Global Handwashing Day is mainly dedicated to raising awareness of public handwashing as a disease-preventive measure. Also, it aims at supporting a general culture of washing hands with soap in all societies, highlighting the state of handwashing in each country and raising awareness about the benefits of handwashing with soap. Each year, this day is celebrated under different themes and with the participation of over 200 million people. Thus, let’s continue following the simple hygiene measure of hand washing which can be your unknown life savior one day.