Global Handwashing Day…late but always relevant

November 30th, 2020

School Kids washing hands during the Community Plumbing Challenge in Indonesia.

October 15 was the 2020 Global Handwashing day

Some statistics from their website factsheet;

Global Handwashing Day (GHD) is a global advocacy day dedicated to increasing awareness about the importance of hand hygiene, especially through handwashing with soap, and triggering lasting change from the policy-level to community-driven action. The 2020 GHD theme is ‘Hand Hygiene for All’, a call to action to make hand hygiene a reality for all.

The current COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the critical role hand hygiene plays in disease transmission. The theme reminds us of the need to take immediate action on hand hygiene across all public and private settings to respond and control the COVID-19 pandemic. Hand hygiene must become everybody’s business. It also reminds us of the need to build on the current momentum to make hand hygiene a mainstay in public health interventions beyond the pandemic and create a culture of hand hygiene.

Hand hygiene impacts health and COVID-19.
  • Handwashing can reduce diarrheal diseases by 30% to 48%.
  • Handwashing can reduce acute respiratory infections by 20%.
  • Handwashing plays an important role in reducing the transmission of outbreak-related pathogens such as cholera, Ebola, shigellosis, SARS and hepatitis E.
  • Hand hygiene is protective against healthcare-associated infections and reduces the spread of antimicrobial resistance.
  • Hand hygiene may contribute to the reduction of Neglected Tropical Diseases.
  • Handwashing with soap can help reduce the transmission of a range of diseases:
  • Handwashing is also key in the fight against COVID-19. Handwashing with soap destroys the outer membrane of the virus and thereby inactivates it. One study found that regular handwashing with soap can reduce the likelihood of COVID-19 infection by 36%.
While Healthabitat might be a bit late picking this Global Handwashing day itself, the act of washing hands has been a big part of Healthabitat’s work for many years.