Global Handwashing Day

Global Handwashing Day Quick Facts - IN

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2024 Date15 October 2024
2025 Date15 October 2025

Global Handwashing Day

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Global Handwashing Day History

Global Handwashing Day aims to raise awareness about the importance of handwashing with soap as a simple, effective, and affordable means to prevent diseases and save lives. Proper handwashing practices can significantly reduce the risk of diarrhoea, pneumonia, and other illnesses, particularly among children under the age of five. The day is celebrated worldwide, engaging millions of people to promote hand hygiene and contribute to improving health and wellbeing.

The concept of Global Handwashing Day was initiated during the World Water Week in Stockholm, Sweden in August 2008. In India, this observance holds immense significance, considering the country has a high burden of communicable diseases. According to the World Health Organization, diarrhoea is the fourth leading cause of death among children under five in India. Poor sanitation, contaminated water, and inadequate handwashing practices contribute to the spread of infections. Thus, Global Handwashing Day presents an opportunity to spread awareness on the importance of hand hygiene and its impact on public health.

In India, various government and non-government organizations, educational institutions, and communities come together to mark Global Handwashing Day by organizing events, campaigns, and workshops. Activities include school programs, where students participate in handwashing demonstrations, poster-making competitions, and skits emphasizing the theme. Public gatherings, distribution of soaps, and mass media campaigns also play an essential role in creating awareness. Global Handwashing Day is observed every year on October 15 in India and worldwide, providing a platform to foster and support a culture of handwashing with soap to improve overall health and well-being of the population.

Global Handwashing Day facts

  • The theme for Global Handwashing Day in 2023 was Accelerate action together.
  • 40 percent of the world’s population, or 3 billion people, do not have a handwashing facility with water and soap at home.
  • Handwashing with soap is among the most effective and inexpensive ways to prevent diarrheal diseases and pneumonia, which together are responsible for the deaths of over 3.5 million children before their fifth birthday every year. The day serves to remind us of the importance of hand hygiene.
  • Limited access to clean water in some rural areas often prevents regular handwashing practices.
  • As per a report by UNICEF, only 47% of households in India wash their hands with soap and water before meals.

Top things to do in India for Global Handwashing Day

  • Host friendly competitions in your community to raise awareness about the importance of handwashing.
  • For some ideas go to Activities for Global Handwashing Day.
  • Conduct handwashing demonstrations to show proper handwashing techniques using soap and water. Emphasize the key moments when handwashing is essential, such as before eating, after using the toilet, and after coughing or sneezing.
  • Provide handwashing kits that include soap, water containers, and towels to individuals or communities in need. This can be done in schools, villages, or areas with limited access to clean water and sanitation facilities.

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