Global Handwashing Day (GHD) is a global campaign which takes place annually on 15 October to raise awareness of the importance of handwashing with soap as a key approach to preventing the spread of diseases And to encourage people around the world to improve their handwashing habits by washing their hands with soap at critical moments throughout each day. Hand washing with soap is extremely effective and the most inexpensive way to prevent Diarrhea and Acute respiratory infections Pneumonia, a major ARI, is the number one cause of mortality among children under five years old, taking the life of an estimated 1.8 million children per year. Diarrhea and pneumonia together account for almost 3.5 million child deaths annually Handwashing with soap is estimated to reduce incidents of diarrhea by 30% and respiratory infections by 21% in children under the age of five.
The campaign was initiated to reduce childhood mortality rates and related respiratory and diarrheal diseases by introducing simple behavioral changes, such as handwashing with soap, and To Foster and support a general culture of handwashing with soap in all societies, the campaign also aims to Shine a spotlight on the state of handwashing in each country and raise awareness about the benefits of handwashing with soap which can help prevent fatal diseases and lower the mortality rate.
It is important to turn handwashing into a habit. Turning handwashing with soap before eating and after using the toilet into an ingrained habit can save more lives than any single vaccine or medical intervention, cutting deaths from diarrhea by almost half and deaths from acute Respiratory infections by one-quarter. Hand washing is usually integrated together with other sanitation interventions as part of water, sanitation and hygiene WASH programmes. The Global Handwashing Day helps raise awareness of the importance of washing with soap, but it also makes it fun for children to get involved. Proper hygiene requires that individuals know the importance of good hygiene and develop the habits to carry it out. Many people with ample incomes lack the important habits of timely handwashing with soap, and thereby unknowingly endanger themselves and others around them.Peer influence is significant to seeing increased handwashing among students. In a study conducted in Kenya, researchers found that students were significantly more likely to wash their hands when another student is present. Peer influence is only successful, however, when students know that handwashing is a desirable action.
The Global Public-Private Partnership for Handwashing with Soap (PPPHW) established Global Handwashing Day in 2008 as a way to promote a global and local vision of handwashing with soap. Steering Committee members of the PPPHW includes Colgate-Palmolive; FHI 360; The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine; Procter & Gamble; UNICEF; Unilever; University at Buffalo; USAID; the Water and Sanitation Programme at the World Bank; and the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council. Continued research on handwashing habits and practices is commissioned in conjunction with GHD. In 2011, Svenska Cellulosa Aktiebolaget (SCA), sponsored a study to assess the handwashing habits of American and Canadian adults, finding that many were not using soap when washing their hands.
Each year, over 200 million people celebrate Global Handwashing Day. On 15 October 2014, Madhya Pradesh won the Guinness World Record for the most massive hand washing program involving 1,276,425 children in 51 different districts.Some groups choose to celebrate GHD on other dates than 15 October. In Ethiopia, 300 people celebrated Global Handwashing Day in Addis Ababa on 1 November in 2013. On 15 October 2015, Lupok Central Elementary School, Guiuan Eastern Samar, Philippines celebrated the Global Hand washing day by doing the proper hand washing before starting classes.
Global Handwashing Day was initiated by the Public Private Partnership for Handwashing (PPPHW) in August 2008 at the annual World Water Week in Stockholm, Swede. The date was appointed by the UN General Assembly. The year 2008 was also the International Year of Sanitation. The focus for Global Handwashing Day’s inaugural year in 2008 was school children and members pledged to get the maximum number of school children handwashing with soap in more than 70 countries. In India in 2008, cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar and his teammates joined an estimated 100 million schoolchildren around the country in lathering up for better health and hygiene as part of the first Global Handwashing Day. In 2014, Global Handwashing Day was used as an opportunity to fight Ebola. In Nigeria, for example, Concern Universal and Carex sponsored events featuring singer Sunny Neji. The founding bodies included: FHI360 (a nonprofit human development organization based in the US), US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Procter & Gamble, UNICEF, Unilever, World Bank Water & Sanitation Program and the United States Agency for International Development