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Wash hands, save lives!

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GLOBAL Handwashing Day (GHD), marked on Monday, all over the world, is a campaign to motivate and mobilize people around the world to improve their handwashing habits. Washing hands at critical points during the day and washing with soap are both important.

Global Handwashing Day occurs on 15 October every year. The campaign is dedicated to raising awareness of handwashing with soap as a key factor in disease prevention.

Global hand washing day aims at fostering and supporting a general culture of handwashing with soap in all societies, as well as shine a spotlight on the state of handwashing in each country and to raise awareness about the benefits of handwashing with soap.

Formerly called “Public Private Partnership for Handwashing” (PPPHW)), Global Handwashing Day was initiated by the Global Handwashing Partnership (GHP) in August 2008 at the annual World Water Week in Stockholm, Sweden.

This means that the first Global Handwashing Day took place on 15 October 2008. The date was appointed by the UN General Assembly. The year 2008 was also the International Year of Sanitation .The founding bodies in 2008 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.

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. This simple action can reduce the mortality rate of respiratory disease by 25%. Death from diarrheal diseases can be reduced by 50%

However, Nigeria participated heavily in the campaign during the ebola epidemic 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 Nejii
The 2018 Global Handwashing Day theme is “Clean hands – a recipe for health.”

It focuses on the links between handwashing and food – including food hygiene and nutrition. Handwashing at critical times, especially before cooking, eating, or feeding others is one of the most important ways to keep food clean and safe, prevent diseases, and help children grow strong. Connecting handwashing to an existing habit like a meal is a great way to form proper handwashing habits. This year’s theme reminds us to make handwashing a part of every meal.

Handwashing with soap is very effective and the least expensive way to prevent diarrhea and acute respiratory infections. Pneumonia, a major ARI (acute respiratory infection), is the number one cause of mortality among children under five years old, killing 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 cases of diarrhea by 30% and respiratory infections by 21% in children under the age of five.

It is important to make handwashing into a habit. Good handwashing with soap before eating and after using the toilet into a regular 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.

Handwashing is usually done 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.

There are people with plenty of money but nonetheless, they 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 much 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.

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