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Global Handwashing Day 2021: Current Theme, History, Significance and Key Facts

Shikha Goyal

Global Handwashing Day History: The day was established by the Global Handwashing Partnership and is celebrated annually on October 15. It provides an opportunity to test, and replicate several ways to boost people to wash their hands with soap at critical times.

As per the CDC, keeping hands clean can prevent 1 in 3 diarrhoeal illnesses and 1 in 5 respiratory infections like cold or flu. The day also focuses on the importance of handwashing with soap and water at home, within the community, and across the world.

The day is also a reminder that such a simple method of handwashing with water and soap can prevent the spreading of germs to others and also the next step due to which we can avoid getting sick. 

Global Handwashing Day 2021: Theme

The theme of Global Handwashing Day 2021 is “Our Future is at Hand – Let’s Move Forward Together." The theme focuses on coordinated action as we actively work toward universal hand hygiene.

The theme of Global Handwashing Day 2020 was "Hand Hygiene for All". The theme gives a call to all the society to achieve universal hand hygiene now and for the future as well. 

It also raises awareness that soap and water should be available globally mainly in public places, schools, and health care facilities. 

The theme also provides a call for institutions and individuals to improve hand hygiene efforts during the time of the  COVID-19 pandemic and also to understand the importance of hand hygiene due to which we can outlast the pandemic and ensure continued access to clean water and soap. 

Also, we can't ignore that several germs that can make people sick are spread through hands when we don't wash them with soap and clean, running water. Therefore, handwashing is very important especially at key times like after using the bathroom, at the time of preparing food, before eating, and after coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose. 

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Global Handwashing Day: History

The first Globalhandwashing Day was observed in 2008 and held by the Global Handwashing Partnership. It is a day that is designed to foster and support a global and local culture of handwashing with soap, showing the importance of handwashing across the world. It also raises awareness about the advantages of handwashing with soap and water.

In 2008 when Global Handwashing Day was first time observed, over 120 million children around the world washed their hands with soap in more than 70 countries. Since then, Global Handwashing Day has continued to grow or celebrated across the globe. The Day is endorsed by governments, schools, international institutions, civil society organisations, NGOs, private companies, individuals, and more.

Global Handwashing Day: Significance

Washing hands with soap and water prevent illness and the spread of infections to others.

It also helps in reducing the number of young children getting sick. Therefore teaching kids and students about hand hygiene, handwashing will help them and communities will stay healthy.

To provide education about handwashing in the community can:

- Reduce the number of people who get sick or suffering from diarrhoea by about 23-40%.

- In school children, it also helps in reducing absenteeism due to gastrointestinal illness by 29-57%.

- It also helps in reducing diarrhoeal illness in people with weakened immune systems by about 58%.

- Reduce respiratory illness including colds, in the general population by about 16-21%.

Handwashing prevents sickness and reduces the number of antibiotics people use and the likelihood that antibiotic resistance will develop. 

Let us tell you that handwashing can prevent about 30% of diarrhoea-related sickness and about 20% of respiratory infections like cold etc. Therefore, antibiotics are prescribed for these types of health issues also. By washing hands, infections can be reduced and frequently helps in preventing the overuse of antibiotics. 

Handwashing also prevents people from getting sick with germs that are already resistant to antibiotics and can be difficult to treat.

Therefore, Global Handwashing Day is observed on 15 October across the world to spread awareness about the importance of handwashing with water and soap and also to know about hand hygiene. Therefore, this year's theme is "Hand Hygiene for All” which is focused on maintaining the hygiene of hands that helps in preventing the spreading of germs, etc.

Important Days and Dates in October 2021

FAQ

Who had founded Global Handwashing Day?

Global Handwashing Day was established by the Global Handwashing Partnership and is celebrated annually on October 15.

What is the theme of Global Handwashing Day 2021?

The theme of Global Handwashing Day 2021 is "Our Future is at Hand – Let’s Move Forward Together."

When is Global Handwashing Day celebrated?

Global Handwashing Day is observed on October 15 annually.

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