Global Handwashing Day was created to foster worldwide the behaviour of hand washing with soap.

Hand washing with soap is among the most effective and inexpensive ways to prevent diarrhoeal diseases and pneumonia, which together are responsible for the majority of child deaths.

Global Handwashing Day is the centrepiece of a week of activities that mobilizes millions of people worldwide to wash their hands with soap. First launched by the Public-Private Partnership for Handwashing with Soap (PPPHW) on 15 October 2008, Global Handwashing Day is now an annual event designed to raise awareness and foster the practice of hand washing with soap.

Hand washing with soap is among the most effective and inexpensive ways to prevent diarrhoeal diseases and pneumonia, which together are responsible for the majority of child deaths – an estimated 3.5 million children under five years of age per year. Despite the simplicity of the intervention and its health benefits, however, worldwide only relatively few people practise it.

The challenge is to change behaviour. Turning hand washing with soap into a habit could save more lives than any single vaccine or medical intervention, cutting deaths from diarrhoea by almost half and deaths from acute respiratory infections by one-quarter. Behaviour change should focus on so-called ‘critical moments’ for hand washing: after defecating, cleaning a child’s bottom, and before preparing food and eating.

Global Handwashing Day 2010
Celebrations on October 15 were a great success worldwide, and many WSSCC members and coalitions participated. Remember that our efforts go far beyond one single day. You can help conduct yearlong activities like the
“100 School Survey”: the questionnaire that takes a snapshot of hygiene conditions in schools. Results can help convince decision-makers that children need places to wash hands along with good toilets in schools! To take the survey and learn more, visit the official Global Handwashing Day site.

Global Handwashing Day 2009
On 15 October 2009, people in over 80 countries celebrated the second Global Handwashing Day, washing their hands with soap to remind the world that clean hands save lives!

Global Handwashing Day - the first one!
People in over 70 countries washed their hands with soap to remind the world that clean hands save lives!

Last updated: Tue, 11/16/2010 - 17:57