In order to keep the flu and other viruses at bay, we should be washing our hands. Maybe even obsessively. I wash my hands a dozen times while I’m cooking. I have an issues with cross contamination while cooking and I hate having dirty hands. So making messy food is hard for me.
This flu season, I need to try and wash just as rigidly as I do when I cook. I was just notified that October 15, is global handwashing day.
The popular Australian children’s entertainers, The Wiggles, have once again partnered with UNICEF to help raise awareness around importance of washing your hands with soap.
“Teaching children to wash their hands with soap and water from an early age helps instill this behavior for life,” said Murray the Red Wiggle. “Handwashing with soap positively impacts children, families, communities and nations by reducing disease, and increasing productivity,” he added.
Children play a central role in the awareness raising for Global Handwashing Day. Under the slogan of “Clean hands save lives” the second annual Global Handwashing Day focuses on schoolchildren as effective communicators and motivators for change, who take good hygiene practices learned at school back into their homes and communities.
The direct involvement of children instills a sense of empowerment and ownership in them ultimately making behaviours, such as handwashing with soap, stick for a lifetime.
Young children are most vulnerable to the ill effects of unsafe water, inadequate sanitation and hygiene. The Convention on the Rights of the Child states that every child has the right to the “highest attainable standard of health” – children can only be healthy if they have access to safe water, adequate sanitation and hygiene and handwashing is a key foundation of child health.
Last year over 80 countries participated in GHD activities, with about 200 million children washing their hands with soap and water. Activities ranged from school events and contests, government outreach initiatives, SMS messaging, photo exhibits, and celebrity involvement.
This year, again, Global Handwashing Day is being celebrated around the world with renewed enthusiasm. Some highlights include:
Nepal: Planning a host of activities including, the promotion of handwashing within the health institutions, and the development of a Teej festival song with handwashing with soap messages.
Japan: Has developed an international handwashing dance to raise awareness both in Japan and beyond.
Cote d’Ivoire: Training of restaurant workers on handwashing techniques and prevention of H1N1. Production and broadcast spots on handwashing.
China: GHD celebrations in 10 counties in Sichuan Province. TV spots on GHD and H1N1 virus. Official government letter sent from the provincial level for GHD.
Guatemala: Media education programmes to be broadcast on 12 channels. Joint action with the Ministry of Health and Education in schools.
Mali: Field visits by journalists in two regions. Practical handwashing demonstrations in 336 schools. TV spots and radio transmissions.
Global Handwashing Day is an initiative of the Global Public-Private Partnership for Handwashing with Soap, and is endorsed by a wide array of governments, international institutions, civil society organizations, NGOs, private companies and individuals worldwide.