Global Handwashing Day
annually on October 15th (since 2008)
Global Handwashing Partnership in 2008
Founded by the Global Handwashing Partnership, Global Handwashing Day is a "global advocacy day dedicated to increasing awareness and understanding about the importance of handwashing with soap as an effective and affordable way to prevent diseases and save lives." Global Handwashing Day is endorsed by many organizations, such as governments, schools, NGOs, private companies, international institutions, and civil society organizations. Many of them collaborate for the day. Global Handwashing Day activities and events are organized, and there is a different theme each year. Community and national leaders use the day to spread the word about the value of handwashing and how easy it can be to do and to build sinks and tippy taps.
A little bit of soap and running water are all that are needed for handwashing. Soap is necessary because it removes dirt and germs that plain water can't. All types of soaps are effective, and it doesn't matter if hot or cold water is used—all temperatures of water are just as effective in killing germs. Although, soap lathers better in warm water than in cold. Water should be running: tap water is ideal, but water coming from a tippy tap or being poured from a container or basin also works. Hands should be scrubbed with soap for about 20 seconds of the handwashing process.
Handwashing is effective in greatly reducing the risk of diarrhea, respiratory diseases like influenza, pneumonia, and COVID-19, and other infections, like Ebola. Globally, less than a fifth of people properly wash their hands when they should. The most critical times to wash hands are after using the toilet and before eating or coming into contact with food. Other critical times to wash hands are after blowing one's nose, coughing, or sneezing; after coming into contact with animals, animal feed, or animal waste; after touching pet food or treats; and after touching garbage. Global Handwashing Day helps assure that more people will wash their hands at these critical times, which will prevent disease and save lives.
How to Observe Global Handwashing Day
Some ways you could take part include:
- Make sure to wash your hands with soap and water frequently, and to scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds when doing so.
- Share with others about the importance of handwashing with soap and water. Do so in person or on social media. Get some assistance from the Global Handwashing Day social media toolkit.
- Do some reading at the Global Handwashing Day community forum.
- Plan and report an event.
- Take part in a Global Handwashing Day virtual campaign.
- Explore more Global Handwashing Day resources.
- If you are part of an organization, make a commitment to support global handwashing.
- Sign up for the Global Handwashing Partnership mailing list.
- Dedicate yourself to supporting global handwashing, not just today, but on all days of the year.