The Global Public-Private Partnership for Handwashing (PPPHW) will celebrate Global Handwashing Day on October 15.
Originally created to educate children and implement regular handwashing with soap in schools worldwide, today over 200 million people from more than 100 countries take part in activities focused on the importance of handwashing as the key to ending disease, infections, and child mortality rates in developing countries.
While soap is present in the majority of households across the globe, it is used mainly for laundry and bathing — not for regular handwashing.
And despite its effectiveness at preventing childhood illnesses, handwashing with soap is not widely practiced in many countries, and therefore difficult to promote.
And herein lies the challenge for the PPPHW…
The PPPHW believes making handwashing during critical times (before eating and after using the toilet) a habitual behavior could cut deaths from diarrhea by almost half, and deaths from acute respiratory infections by one-quarter. Together, these ailments are responsible for the majority of all child deaths.
The PPPHW’s mission is to:
- Foster and support a global culture of handwashing with soap.
- Shine a spotlight on the state of handwashing in every country.
- Raise awareness about the benefits of handwashing with soap.
“Handwashing with soap is the ‘vaccine’ that prevents infections.”
Research shows that children living in households exposed to handwashing promotion and soap had half the diarrheal rates of children living in control neighborhoods.
Because handwashing can prevent the transmission of a variety of pathogens, it may be more effective than any single vaccine. Promoted on a wide enough scale, handwashing with soap can be thought of as a “do-it-yourself” vaccine. Ingraining the habit of handwashing could save more lives than any single vaccine or medical intervention.
Global Handwashing Day focuses on children because it is this group that suffers disproportionally from diarrheal and respiratory diseases.
As well, children have the distinct ability to be agents for cultural change, as they are more likely to be open to new ideas and adaptable to new behaviors.
By instilling the importance of handwashing at an early age in populations across the globe and educating people on handwashing as a way to fight the very diseases that threaten their communities, we have an opportunity to make the major life-threatening diseases of children under five a thing of the past.
Read more about the partnership and Global Handwashing Day here.
Interested in doing your part? When you buy SoapBox soap, we give a bar to a child in need… so you can promote the availability of this life-saving resource to those in need! http://soapboxsoaps.com/product-category/soap/