We do hope that handwashing is a regular practice that you do every day, but on October 15 you should put just a little more thought to it as it is Global Handwashing Day. Until COVID-19 happened, handwashing and its importance in helping prevent the spread of diseases is something that most of us probably never gave much thought to. But the global pandemic has really shone a light on the importance of handwashing, meaning this day now carries extra relevance, even though it has been around since 2008.
History of Global Handwashing Day
Global Handwashing Day was founded by the Global Handwashing Partnership as an opportunity to design and implement creative ways to encourage people to wash their hands with soap, especially during critical times.
The first Global Handwashing Day was held in 2008. Since then, the community as well as national leaders and influencers have used this national holiday to spread awareness about the value of clean hands. It really is a valuable message, hand washing is such a simple practice, but it really can make all the difference and save lives.
Global Handwashing Day continues to grow. It’s endorsed by schools, governments, international institutions, private companies, civil society organizations, and more.
Global Handwashing Day timeline
Clean Hands for All
The 2019 theme for Global Handwashing Day was, “Life is Better with Clean Hands.” The hygiene campaign targeted adults who are parents and caregivers in emphasizing the importance of handwashing.
First Global Handwashing Day
Over 120 million children around the world washed their hands with soap in more than 70 countries.
The Global Handwashing Partnership created Global Handwashing Day at World Water Week in Stockholm, Sweden.
Wash Your Hands!
The first hand hygiene regulations were published nationally.
Global Handwashing Day FAQs
What are the three aims of Global Handwashing Day?
To create a culture of handwashing with soap in all societies. To create awareness on the state of handwashing in each country. To inform people about the benefits of handwashing with soap.
Why do we celebrate Global Handwashing Day?
To create awareness on how handwashing can prevent the spread of disease, and encourage more handwashing within society.
How can I do my part?
Make handwashing a habit! Implement it as a family before meals. Promote handwashing in homes, schools, workplaces, health facilities, and more.
How To Celebrate Global Handwashing Day
Post on social media
Share on your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or other platforms to raise awareness about the importance of handwashing.
Promote Global Handwashing Day in your community by ordering handwashing posters and fliers and posting them throughout the community’s public spaces such as parks and schools.
Practice hand washing
Always wash your hands with soap especially before eating and cooking and after using the bathroom.
5 Facts About Global Handwashing Day
Global Handwashing Day’s 2019 theme was “Clean Hands for All.” The theme emphasized the push to leave no one behind in the Sustainable Development Agenda as a reminder that inclusivity is mandatory when addressing handwashing inequalities.
Clean hands save lives
Hand care can reduce the mortality rate of respiratory diseases by 25% and diarrheal diseases can be reduced by 50%, according to a study done by the Lancet Infectious Diseases journal. This can simply be done by washing your hands with soap!
India played a huge role
India was one of the biggest participants of Global Handwashing Day in 2008. Cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar and his teammates joined an estimated 100 million children in promoting better health and hygiene.
Everyone does not have access
Only 60% of the world’s population has access to a basic handwashing facility.
Handwashing isn't accessible for everyone
Currently, there are 17 countries where more than 10 million people lack handwashing facilities. The availability of soap and water at handwashing facilities varies. In Ethiopia, only 0.1% of households had soap and water at the handwashing facility while in Iraq, 91% had these items available.
Why We Love Global Handwashing Day
Clean hands save lives
We’re making a difference by modeling ideal handwashing behavior and reminding others to always wash their hands, especially during critical times such as the COVID-19 pandemic.
It creates awareness
It really does save lives, but not everybody realizes that, and Global Handwashing Day is here to make people more aware of the difference washing your hands can make.
Handwashing with soap is one of the most basic, healthiest habits that we can pick up.
Global Handwashing Day dates