Tag Archives: Global Handwashing Day

Not just another day

Global Handwashing Day is there to remind us of how simple the solutions to serious issues can be.

Global Handwashing Day is on the 15 October. Photograph: Concern Universal

Global Handwashing Day is on the 15 October. Photograph: Concern Universal

I’ve always been a sceptic when it comes to world “Days”. However noble the cause, what difference can they really make? The International Day of Peace – as if the various factions in Syria or Nigeria’s Boko Haram extremists paused from their daily destruction to consider alternative approaches. How many acres of forest are cleared for extracting resources or planting cash-crops every World Environment Day? Aside from providing a hook for advocacy press releases, how could those involved possibly think that one day could positively affect the suffering on the front lines of poverty and insecurity? Well, having run behaviour change projects in West Africa over the last five years I am beginning to believe that it can.

Today is Global Handwashing Day, and together with its cousin World Toilet Day on 19 November, it brings attention to the most basic issues – hygiene and sanitation – that to our shame still account for two million child deaths a year.

A third of the world’s population – 2.4 billion people – live with poor sanitation and hygiene which, according to the World Bank, costs countries $260 billion annually. Every day 2,000 children die before reaching their fifth birthday due to diarrhoeal diseases, the vast majority caused by poor sanitation and hygiene.

Diarrhoea alone killed far more young children in Nigeria over the last 12 months – around 150,000 – than Boko Haram’s slaughtering and the wars in Syria combined. Whilst we continue the daily search for even a hint of a resolution to these two brutal and complex conflicts, we already know the simple solution to tackling hygiene and sanitation-related diseases.

We know that handwashing with soap is the most effective and inexpensive way to prevent diarrhoeal diseases – reducing incidence by up to 47% – and combined with improved sanitation, this is boosted to 68%. We know that in countries with the highest child mortality rates as few as 1% of people wash their hands effectively, and that the global average is only 19%. Most frustratingly, effective tools and participatory methods are readily available and it is estimated that interventions that promote handwashing could save close to a million lives. So why is hygiene promotion not a focus of most development projects?

Read the full article in the WSSCC partner zone on the Guardian.

WASHplus Weekly: Focus on Global Handwashing Day 2015

Issue 209 | Oct. 9, 2015 | Focus on Global Handwashing Day 2015

Global Handwashing Day occurs each year on October 15. It is a global advocacy day dedicated to increasing awareness and understanding about the importance of handwashing with soap as an effective and affordable way to prevent diseases and save lives. This issue contains links to handwashing resources from WASHplus, the Global-Public-Private Partnership for Handwashing, recent studies, reports, and videos.  Blue-Raise-a-Hand-300x300

RESOURCES

Global Public-Private Partnership for Handwashing (PPPHW)
This coalition of international stakeholders works explicitly to promote handwashing with soap and recognize hygiene as a pillar of international development and public health. Just a few of the partnership’s resources include the PPPHW website with links to webinars, fact sheets, andmember organizations. Also the Global Handwashing Day Social Media Toolkit features sample messages, blog ideas, and resources to help celebrants and handwashing champions spread the word about Global Handwashing Day.

WASHplus RESOURCES

Small Doable Actions: A Feasible Approach to Behavior Change Learning Brief, 2015. Link
A small doable action is a behavior that, when practiced consistently and correctly, will lead to personal and public health improvement. It is considered feasible by the householder, from HIS/HER point of view, considering the current practice, the available resources, and the particular social context. This brief takes a look at how WASHplus has applied this approach to a range of activities—handwashing, water treatment, improved sanitation, menstrual hygiene management, and food hygiene.

Handwashing and the Science of Habit, 2014. Webinar
This webinar features panelists David Neal, Catalyst Behavioral Sciences; The University of Miami; Jelena Vujcic, Catalyst Behavioral Sciences; The University of Buffalo; Orlando Hernandez, WASHplus, FHI360 and Wendy Wood, The University of Southern California.

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Global Handwashing Day Planner’s Guide, 3rd Edition

Global Handwashing Day Planner’s Guide, 3rd Edition. 2014.

In addition to background information, the top five facts about handwashing you should know, and insights from the latest in handwashing research, the Planner’s Guide features:

  • Detailed celebration ideas designed to help religious organizations, schools, healthcare centers and more plan effective messaging and events.
  • An event checklist that helps planners organize and make sure their event planning is on track.
  • Spotlights on:
    • Sustainability (p. 17)
    • Small Doable Actions (p. 20)
    • Social Norms (p. 22)
  • And much more!

Global Handwashing Day celebrates 5th anniversary on 15 October

Global Handwashing Day is a global celebration of handwashing with soap involving over 200 million people in over 100 countries worldwide

In 2012, Global Handwashing Day will share its 5th anniversary with over 121 million children who are also celebrating their 5th birthday this year. Handwashing with soap can reduce the incidence of diarrhoea among children under five by almost 50 per cent, and respiratory infections by nearly 25 per cent. That’s why this year’s theme is “Help More Children Reach Their 5th Birthday”.

Logos, guidelines and information packs can be downloaded from the Global Handwashing Day website. There is a promotional Twitter/Facebook game called “World Wash Up”. The official Twitter hashtag for Global Handwashing Day is #iwashmyhands

Web siteglobalhandwashing.org/ghw-day

The “World WASH UP” game created by Periscopic for the Global Public-Private Partnership for Handwashing (PPPHW)

Global Handwashing Day: 200 million lather up for clean hands

More than 200 million schoolchildren, parents, teachers, celebrities and government officials in 80 countries lathered up in the third annual Global Handwashing Day on 15 October 2010. This year’s celebrations revolved around schools and children, and the theme “more than just a day“ aimed to make the simple, life-saving practice of washing hands a regular habit.

To ensure that efforts go far beyond one single day, the Global Public-Private Partnership for Handwashing with Soap launched several tools including a “100 School Survey” questionnaire, a monitoring toolkit, the More than Just a Day brochure, and the “Get Bubbly” children’s game.

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Kenya: school children attempt to break world handwashing record

School children at Thirime primary school, Kikuyu, Kenya on Global Handwashing Day. Photo: Thomas Mukoya-Reuters

Close to 20,000 school children and adults took part in a handwashing campaign in an attempt to establish a new Guinness World Record. They gathered at Thirime Primary School in Kikuyu on 15 October 2010 to mark Global Handwashing Day.

Education Permanent Secretary James Ole Kiyiapi announced that 19,352 people, including 18,302 children and 1,050 adults washed their hands during the event. If recognised, this would break the previous record for the most number of people washing hands at a single venue set by 15,150 students in Chennai, India, in 2009. Plan Bangladesh and partners claim to hold the record for the most number of people washing hands at multiple locations, when 52,970 school children gathered across the country in October 2009.

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Handwashing Fact Sheet and Annotated Bibliography

Below is a fact sheet from a recent UNICEF literature review and an annotated bibliography of handwashing studies that we hope will be useful for Global Handwashing Day on Oct. 15, 2010.

Evidence Specific to Handwashing with Soap (Fact Sheet)– From: Evidence base: Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Interventions Literature Review: September 2010, Peter van Maanen, WASH Section, UNICEF.

  • Handwashing at critical times including before eating or preparing food and after using the toilet can reduce diarrhoea rates by almost 40 per cent (3IE 2009).
  • Handwashing with soap can reduce the incidence of acute respiratory infections (ARI’s) by around 23 per cent (WELL 2007).
  • One study assessed the effect of hand washing promotion with soap on the incidence of pneumonia and found that children younger than 5 years in households that received plain soap and hand washing promotion had a 50% lower incidence of pneumonia than controls.
  • Pneumonia (a lower respiratory infection) is the number one cause of mortality among children under five years old, taking the lives of an estimated 1.8 million children per year (SOWC 2008).
  • Handwashing can be a critical measure in controlling pandemic outbreaks of respiratory infections. Several studies carried out during the 2006 outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) suggest that washing hands more than 10 times a day can cut the spread of the respiratory virus by 55 per cent (BMJ 2009).
  • Handwashing with soap is has been cited as one of the most cost effective interventions to prevent diarrhoeal related deaths and disease (Cairncross and Valdmanis 2006).
  • A review of several studies shows that handwashing in institutions such as primary schools and daycare centers reduce the incidence of diarrhoea by an average of 30 per cent (Cochrane 2008).
  • Rates of handwashing around the world are low. Observed rates of handwashing with soap at critical moments – i.e, before handling food and after using the toilet range from zero per cent to 34 per cent (Scott et al 2003).
  • A recent study shows that handwashing with soap by birth attendants and mothers significantly increased newborn survival rates by up to 44 per cent (Rhee et al 2008).
  • The lack of soap is not a significant barrier to handwashing – with the vast majority of even poor households having soap. Soap was present in 95 per cent of households in Uganda, 97 per cent of households in Kenya and 100 per cent of households in Peru (Curtis et al 2009).
  • Water alone is not enough, and soap is rarely used for handwashing. Laundry, bathing and washing dishes are seen as the priorities for soap use (GHD Planners Guide).
  • New studies suggest that handwashing promotion in schools can play a role in reducing absenteeism among primary school children. In China, for example, promotion and distribution of soap in primary schools resulted in 54 per cent fewer days of absence among students compared to schools without such an intervention (Bowen et al 2007)

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