One of the most effective ways to stop the spread of germs and stay healthy is also one of the simplest — handwashing with soap and water. Keeping hands clean can prevent 1 in 3 diarrheal illnesses and 1 in 5 respiratory infections, such as a cold or the flu.
Handwashing is so important, especially at key times such as after using the bathroom, when preparing food, before eating, and after coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose.
Global Handwashing Day is observed on October 15th of every year. Global Handwashing Day is an annual global advocacy day dedicated to advocating for handwashing with soap as an easy, effective, and affordable way to prevent diseases and save lives.
Global Handwashing Day was founded by the Global Handwashing Partnership, and is an opportunity to design, test, and replicate creative ways to encourage people to wash their hands with soap at critical times. The Global Handwashing Partnership works to save children’s lives and improve health by promoting handwashing with soap.
The 2021 Global Handwashing Day theme is “Our Future is at Hand – Let’s Move Forward Together.”
COVID-19 has highlighted the urgent need to ensure everyone can access good hand hygiene. At the onset of the pandemic, 3 in 10 people worldwide could not wash their hands with soap and water within their homes according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
“Handwashing is one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other infectious diseases, yet millions of people across the world lack access to a reliable, safe supply of water,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General. “Investment in water, sanitation and hygiene must be a global priority if we are to end this pandemic and build more resilient health systems.”