Make handwashing a habit on Global Handwashing Day 2016!

Date: 7th October 2016

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The annual event raises awareness on the practice of handwashing with soap


Credit: WSSCC

Join WSSCC and its partners this year in celebrating Global Handwashing Day on October 15th, an annual global advocacy day to raise awareness and foster the practice of handwashing with soap.

The theme this year is “Make Handwashing a Habit” highlighting the notion that for handwashing to be effective it must be practiced consistently at key times, such as after using the toilet or before contact with food.

Handwashing with soap is one of the most effective and inexpensive ways to prevent diarrheal diseases and pneumonia.

The simple act of handwashing with soap can reduce the risk of diarrheal disease by up to 47%, but only if it’s done consistently, which is why behaviour change is essential for making handwashing a habit.

WSSCC knows this well, which is why through our Global Sanitation Fund we have supported over 15 million people to access handwashing facilities since 2008.

Stay tuned on our website for more updates on how we celebrated with our partners all over the world.

Not Enough Clean Hands

Staggering facts and figures show that globally, less than a fifth of people currently wash their hands properly at critical times and people wash their hands only 19 percent of the time after using the toilet or changing a child’s diaper.

Diarrhoea and pneumonia are two major illnesses that are transmitted on the hands, together, they kill an estimated 1.7 million children every year.

Credit: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Credit: Public-Private Partnership for Handwashing (PPPHW)

Infections start when hands are contaminated which can happen in many day-to-day situations like after using the toilet, changing a child’s diaper, coughing, sneezing, touching other people’s hands, and touching other contaminated surfaces.

Did you know? A single gram of human faeces can contain 10 million viruses and one million bacteria.

Credit: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Credit: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Sing the Happy Birthday Song for Proper Handwashing

Proper handwashing involves a couple of simple steps as laid out by the Global Public-Private Partnership for Handwashing

  • Wet hands
  • Cover wet hands with soap
  • Scrub all surfaces, including palms, back of the hands, between the fingers, and under the fingernails for about 20 seconds
  • Rinse well with running water
  • Dry on a clean cloth or by waving in the air

To make sure you scrubbed your hands for 20 seconds simply sing “Happy Birthday” twice!

Get Involved

Global Handwashing day was launched on October 15 2008 by the Global Public-Private Partnership for Handwashing, a coalition of international stakeholders who work to promote handwashing with soap and recognize hygiene as a pillar of international development and public health.

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