Celebrate Global Handwashing Day on October 15

29th of September 2014 Article by Lynne Goodman
Celebrate Global Handwashing Day on October 15

Lynne Goodman, marketing and PR director at Hand Dryers UK, looks ahead to Global Handwashing Day, which this year takes place on October 15.

Established in 2001 the Global Public-Private Partnership for Handwashing with Soap is a coalition of international stakeholders whose focus is handwashing and child health. Hygiene Centre Staff at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine have been actively involved in setting up and managing the Global Public Private Partnership to promote Hand Washing with Soap.

This partnership initiated Global Handwashing Day - celebrated on October 15 this year - which was originally created for children and schools but can be celebrated by anyone promoting hand washing with soap.

First initiated in 2008 Global Handwashing Day is endorsed by governments, international institutions, civil society organisations, NGO's, private companies and individuals around the world.

"The simple act of hand washing with soap is the most effective way to save children's lives," said Sanjay Wijesekera, global head of UNICEF's Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) programmes. "Washing hands before eating and after defecation drastically reduces the spread of diarrhoeal diseases and has far reaching effects on the health and welfare of children."

Diarrhoea is thought to kill almost 600,000 children under five each year. New figures from UNICEF say 1,400 children are still dying from the it each day! Hand washing with soap can reduce this figure by up to 45 per cent! It has also been found to reduce the spread of pneumonia, which is the biggest killer of children under five. This means hand washing could be more effective than any single vaccine!

The vision for the PPPPHW is that proper handwashing with soap at critical times will be universally recognised, promoted and practiced as fundamental to good health and, to this end it seeks to promote awareness, build political commitment and trigger action on this critical issue at local, national and international levels.

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