World Hand Washing day is celebrated globally in order to raise awareness among
population about regularly washing hands with soap at critical times and its
importance. Its objectives include creating new ways to increase global
awareness about benefits of washing hands and observe the state of hand washing
worldwide. It focuses on ensuring local and global facilities for hand wash.
It was created
in the year 2008 during the Stockholm World Water Week and United Nations
appointed October 15th
to be marked as World Hand washing Day each
year. It illustrates hand washing as an easy, convenient and inexpensive way to prevent infections
and keep germs away.
Each year over 70 countries and millions of people participate in celebrations
of global handwashing day. Several schools, institutions, NGOs and both private
as well as public sector entities play important role in embarking the spirit
of keeping hands clean through various drives and involving public
participation in such events. The theme for 2015 Global handwashing day is
"Raise a Hand for Hygiene". This year theme is action-oriented where people can
identify themselves as a hygiene champion to increase awareness about hand
washing benefits. Sachin Tendulkar, Indian cricket legend and a goodwill
ambassador for the United Nations children's fund UNICEF showed local children
in Colombo how to use soap and water to wash their hands before meals and avoid
the risk of diseases.
Hands Benefits Health
It may sound eerie that washing hands can benefit health but regular hand wash with soap
not only does keep you
clean and hygienic but also prevent the spread of many contagious diseases like
common cold, flu and diarrhea to more serious diseases like meningitis
and hepatitis. Here's how hand washing
plays an important
role in promoting health:
1. It's the first line of defense:
Washing hands acts as our first line of
defense against most bacteria, viruses and other microorganisms. A contaminated
place, person or thing if touched then hands are the first body organs to come
in contact with germs. Washing our hands with soap refrain entry of diseases
causing germs into our body through mouth, nose or skin. Skin is the only
barrier between infectious organisms and internal organs, and washing hands
remove such germs from skin itself preventing them to affect vital organs like
lungs, liver and stomach.
A time to time hand washing habit
could save you from many life threatening conditions like meningitis, bronchitis
, hepatitis, jaundice and even fatal
viruses like H1N1 and Ebola
2. It's safe and easy:
Hand wash is the safest and easiest way to keep infections away. There
are no medicines and medical procedures involved and you are safe from diseases
in no time. We just need to develop the habit of keeping our hands clean and
remain protected. In fact hand wash is the most inexpensive method to maintain
your body immunity and prevent infections.
3. Kids are protected against regular infections:
Infants and school going children
are at a greater risk of developing infectious diseases soon. It is important
to keep them safe and maintain their proper hygiene so that they are not
affected by millions of germs floating around. Communicable diseases spread due
to physical contact with person, food, objects, water and infected air.
Children must be educated about the
benefits of washing hands before and after meals in school and at home. Hand
washing for kids is also necessary when they return from play or after school.
This regular habit helps protect kids against infectious diseases and improve
4. Maintains hygiene:
A proper hygiene could avert many medical conditions. Hand washing is
the most efficacious method to maintain body hygiene. One who has the habit of
washing hands at critical times will be more hygienic and thus healthy. It
prevents dirt and germs and keeps skin clean and healthy. Regular hand wash
while suffering from any communicable disease could restrict its spread keeping
Wash your hands with soap properly
before and after meals, after returning from outside/work, after traveling
(especially public transport), sports and after having used the toilets.
5. Important for doctors and patients:
For doctors it is of utmost importance to keep
themselves safe from infectious organisms. Doctors being regularly contracted
by many bacteria and viruses need to be more careful than others. Washing hands
thus play an important role in protecting doctors from getting sick.
In the same manner hospitalized
patients are surrounded by wrath of disease causing organisms that could make
their illness worse. They are always advised to keep their hands clean in order
to prevent worsening their condition.
6. More effective than vaccines:
Vaccines are another way of boosting immunity
against infectious diseases but are not effective against each and every
microbial strain. There are hundreds of known and unknown bacteria and virus in
atmosphere and we cannot devise vaccines for each of them. Washing our hands is
the most effective way to keep ourselves healthy and hygienic. It restricts
more microbial infections than a vaccine could.
Hand washing is not an alternative
to vaccination but definitely an aid towards better health.
Proper Hand Washing
Like any other activity washing hands also have a correct procedure
to follow for maximum benefit. The steps are:
- Wet your hands with
- Take few drops of liquid soap (or apply soap
bar) on your hands and apply it all over your hands. Work up into lather at
- Properly clean between fingers and nails.
Remove any rings and watch for better cleaning.
- Clean your
- Now rinse hands thoroughly under running water.
- Pat dry with towel.
- Keep a separate
towel for each family member.
How you can Advocate Hand
Washing at your Home, Institution or Work Place
- Create awareness among
children about hand washing benefits.Put interesting hand washing posters, hand washing signs and pictures
near wash taps at schools and institutions to create awareness.
more children and adult participation in events like celebrating global hand
- Organize various fun games and competitions
like quiz on hygiene and sanitation.
- Make a hand washing
policy for your institution.
- Different ideas and creative
outlook could help promote hand washing as a health benefiting method and make
people aware about it.
So this October 15th
we all must keep up the spirit of
Global Hand Washing day and pledge to keep ourselves and our surroundings clean
and hygienic by adopting regular hand washing as a little gesture towards a