Tag Archives: Global Handwashing Day

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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Bangladesh: children smash handwashing world record

Washing hands may not seem worthy of a certificate, but for thousands of children in Bangladesh the simple practice has got them into the Guinness Book of World Records.

On Global Handwashing Day last October [2009], Plan Bangladesh and its partners organised an event where 52,970 school children gathered at multiple locations across the country to wash their hands with soap and water. The campaign was set up to motivate people to change their attitude towards current hygiene practices and save lives.

Global Handwashing Day, Bangladesh

Global Handwashing Day: handwashing demonstration in Sylhet, Bangladesh. Photo: MaMoni

Approximately 110,000 Bangladeshi children aged under 5 die due to diarrhoea every year. Hand washing with soap is the most effective and inexpensive way to prevent the disease.

New world record

The gathering smashed the 2008 record which was set by Bangladesh and stood at 1,213 . Now Plan Bangladesh has received a certificate from the Guinness World Records which seals their place in history. [The official Guinness site still lists the record set on 19 October 2009 by the Edenglen primary school in Johannesburg, South Africa with 1,802 handwashing students, while India also claimed it had broken the record when about 15,000 students from 23 schools converged in a sports stadium n Chennai].

Zillur Rahman, Plan Bangladesh’s water and environmental sanitation specialist who coordinated the event, said: “We are very happy we broke the world record in this. Plan got involved in this campaign to highlight the bad hygiene practices in the country and we believe the campaign has raised this issue amongst people especially in the life of children.”

Spreading the word

On the day, 25,000 children gathered in a school playground in Dhaka to take part. After the event, one of the children said: “Now we know the importance of washing hands with soap and water and we will definitely tell our family and community about its benefit.” Thousands more school children washed their hands with soap and water simultaneously all over the country.

In Bangladesh, hygiene practices are generally poor. The national figure of washing hands with soap and water after defecation is 58.8% while this figure drops to 50.4% in rural areas.

Related web sites:

Source: Plan Bangladesh, 01 Jul 2010

Do the Global Handwashing dance! “Washy washy wa”

Kaiji Moriyama lathers up. Photo: UNICEF

Kaiji Moriyama lathers up. Photo: UNICEF

UNICEF Japan and its partners have released a hilarious video to promote handwashing to mark 2009 Global Handwashing Day.

Renowned Japanese dancer Kaiji Moriyama has choreographed a dance for a public service announcement designed to teach children the principles of good handwashing.

The dance shows children how in just 20 seconds they can properly wash their palms, nails, fingers and wrists. The dance has almost no verbal instruction, but, by simply following the steps, children learn proper handwashing while also having fun.

Go “washy washy wa”  and “soupy soupy soo” together with Kaiji and do the Global Handwashing dance!

This could become the new Macarena!

South Africa or India: who holds the world record for handwashing?

South African children have set an official new Guiness World Record for the most number of people washing hands at one location, but a simultaneous event in India attracted more than eight times as many students.

About 15,000 students from 23 schools in Chennai converged under the blazing sun in Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium to celebrate Global Handwashing Day and break the previous record held since 22 October 2008 by Bhiddwa School Niketon of Dhaka, Bangladesh with 1,213 participants.

Photo: Indian Express

Photo: Indian Express

The programme in Chennai began almost an hour late. Luckily, the dignitaries kept their speeches short. Large screens placed in the stadium aired demonstrations on how to wash hands.

Soon after the speeches, the whistle blew and the children got into the act. They had bubble bottles, soaps and paper napkins all in place. And in less than 10 minutes, the event was over.

Though the children liked the idea of coming together and assembling in the stadium, the scorching heat posed a problem. “Our teachers insisted that we came, otherwise we would not have bothered about this,” said a group of children from a Corporation high school.

On the other hand, some students were really excited to be part of the event. “We knew that we are going to be part of a record-setting event. Despite being a bit tired, we find it great to be here,” said Saravan and friends from a school near Choolai.

The students were brought together by the government, World Health Organization and Lifebuoy to promote the habit of washing hands as a measure to prevent disease.

Bryan Habana washing hands with the children. Photo: Bongani Nkosi

Bryan Habana washing hands with the children. Photo: Bongani Nkosi

At the same time in South Africa, local rugby hero Bryan Habana and 1,802 Gauteng schoolchildren were staging their own record breaking attempt.

Habana is part of the Gimme 5 for Germ-free Hands campaign led by Protex, an anti-bacterial soap brand, owned by Colgate Palmolive. The campaign has visited more than 1,200 primary schools throughout the country. On Global Handwashing Day about 1-million children from schools around South Africa washed their hands under the auspices of the brand.

The South African was officially recognised as a Guinness World Record by adjudicator Carl Saville, who flew out from the UK for the occasion.

Source: Indian Express, 16 Oct 2009