Awareness: Global Handwashing Day

Try to understand larger picture for greater good. Some sentences apparently are so arduous to be accomplished, especially when a common man is struggling to live another day. For instance, will I be thinking of Beach cleanup/ Reforestation on a Sunday after a 6 day of tiresome weekday. But what I, as a citizen forget is first: it is my duty to look and go beyond just me and family. second, there is no need to go way beyond my limits and comfort zone to do good for the society. A simple ‘why only me’ to ‘why not me’ attitude will escalate the standards of social living and relations. It is not the first time we heard a lecture like this and as a kid, I often wondered what good does a post like this, with someone screening under a shade and comfort of a bean bag do?

The answer is Awareness.

An estimated 48% of the planet has the luxury, or if you ask me, a necessity called the internet but numerous others are still unaware of its existence. Half the planet! OK, so Technology is still considered an urban monopoly, how about hand-washing? It’s a routine. So much a part of our routine that we don’t even consider it.

Here are Fast Facts about Hand-washing from UNICEF

 Over 1.5 million children under five die each year as a result of Diarrhoea. It is the second most common cause of child deaths worldwide

  • Hand-washing with soap at critical times – including before eating or preparing food and after using the toilet – can reduce Diarrhoea rates by more than 40 per cent.
  • Hand-washing with soap can reduce the incidence of acute respiratory infections (ARI’s) by around 23 per cent.
  • Pneumonia, is the number one cause of mortality among children under five years old, taking the lives of an estimated 1.8 million children per year.
  • Hand-washing can be a critical measure in controlling pandemic outbreaks of respiratory infections. Several studies carried out during the 2006 outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) suggest that washing hands more than 10 times a day can cut the spread of the respiratory virus by 55 per cent.
  • Hand-washing with soap has been cited as one of the most cost-effective interventions to prevent Diarrhoeal related deaths and disease.
  • A review of several studies shows that hand-washing in institutions such as primary schools and daycare centres reduce the incidence of Diarrhoea by an average of 30 per cent.
  • Rates of hand-washing around the world are low. Observed rates of hand-washing with soap at critical moments – i.e, before handling food and after using the toilet – range from zero per cent to 34 per cent.
  • A study shows that hand-washing with soap by birth attendants and mothers significantly increased newborn survival rates by up to 44 per cent.
  • Water alone is not enough, yet soap is rarely used for hand-washing. The lack of soap is not a significant barrier to hand-washing – with the vast majority of even poor households having soap. Soap was present in 95 per cent of households in Uganda, 97 per cent of households in Kenya and 100 per cent of households in Peru.  Laundry, bathing and washing dishes are seen as the priorities for soap use.
  • New studies suggest that hand-washing promotion in schools can play a role in reducing absenteeism among primary school children. In China, for example, promotion and distribution of soap in primary schools resulted in 54 per cent fewer days of absence among students compared to schools without such an intervention.


Global Hand-washing Day occurs on 15 October of each year, so the next time you visit your ancestral home back in your village just spread the word that a simple habit will save and enrich lives.