October 15 is the Global Handwashing Day, and though no greeting card is used, we can celebrate it by reminding the importance of having a good hygiene as a technique to prevent and reduce illnesses. Global Handwashing Day is a great way to support the culture of handwashing by highlighting the benefits of using soap to improve our health and prevent viruses.
Though it could be seen as silly to celebrate every year the custom of washing our hands with soap, Global Handwashing day sets as a reminder that we need to spread the importance of washing our hands to stay healthy, as well, it looks forward the improvement of the handwashing techniques.
Handwashing is a simple method that can prevent hygiene-related illnesses such as diarrhea and pneumonia. Over 1.8 million children die each year before reaching the age of 5 due to pneumonia that could be avoided by simple techniques such as regular handwashing, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. As well, these actions could prevent typhoid, cholera and a considerable ratio of diarrhea cases from happening.
Therefore, to raise awareness and consciousness about the importance of having proper hygiene habits, the ‘Global Handwashing day’ was created by UNICEF alongside other public and private groups. It has been celebrated since 2008, and each year several events are coordinated to encourage people to wash their hand for at least 20 seconds, which is the proper amount of time to clean our hands with the aid of soap effectively.
We can handwash our hands by singing
The Global Handwashing day initiative encourages school children, teachers, and families to get involved and highlight the importance – especially among kids – of this simple act as a way to prevent diseases. Moreover, it is a very good idea to be promoted in developing countries where these diseases, related to lack of hygiene, are more common.
Not everyone has access to soap and water, according to the CDC. In a lot of places, people is not used to washing their hands given soap and even water scarcity. Even if soap is available, in some States people reserve it for laundry and bathing, and don’t use it as a tool to wash their hands. Additionally, in some countries, there is no tradition or promotion regarding the importance of handwashing among families.
In Nigeria, there is an on-the-ground handwashing initiative. Only 1 in 10 kids wash their hands properly, but as well 1 out of 10 children die from illnesses that could be prevented by handwashing. This has driven Nigerian pop singer Sunny Neji to write a song, alongside artist 2Face, about the importance of washing our hands. The song is called “Wash your hands O!” The song has already a music video. Neji started this initiative after he was approached by an NGO called ‘Concern Universal’ two years ago.
“Habits are formed over time, and sometimes it’s cultural. Sometimes it’s a lack of exposure or just ignorance. That’s why this campaign is very enlightening. It is teaching people that you need to wash your hands and that you need to do it properly. Not just with water, but with soap too.” Said Neji.
Pakistani kids have the handwashing world record
As well, Pakistan has shown its concern about the importance of having handwashing habits. Now they have set a new Guinness World Record as 1636 students from different schools in Karachi participated in a joint hand-washing event during this year Global Handwashing day, celebrated on Saturday. The activity was organized by a soap company at a superstore in the Gulshan-e-Iqbal area.
“With over 1,600 students taking part in the hand washing relay today, we hope to take this message across Pakistan and instill the habit of washing hands among children, ” said Shahzeb Mehmood, a host of the activity.
Mehmood also said that this kind of event is vital to prevent diseases since Pakistan lost around 53000 children to diarrhea last year. As well, he stated that the company is committed to saving lives with the support of the government and other non-governmental groups and civil society.
Now Pakistan set a new Guinness Record for handwashing, which is going to generate other related initiatives around the world probably. But before, the record was held by India when around 1410 student participated in a hand-washing activity last year.
“We congratulate Pakistani students on their new Guinness World Record’s title. Engaging so many people in such a fantastic event is a truly impressive achievement”, said Seyda Subasi-Gemici, the Guinness World Records adjudicator in the event.
Handwashing: A ‘do-it-yourself’ vaccine
Handwashing is for everyone, except for the germs. It is a quick, inexpensive and simple activity that could save our lives if we only incorporate it into our daily routine. It only takes five simple steps: wet our hand, lather, scrub, rinse and dry. Just like that, we are preventing diseases, especially after certain activities that might increase the risk to get germs.
Source: Downtown Austin Patch