October 01, 2021 3 min read

 

Global Handwashing Day may sound like a new holiday invented in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, but the premier Global Handwashing Day happened on October 15, 2008 thanks to the Global Public-Private Partnership for Handwashing (PPPHW) who formed in the 1990s.

As early as the 1980s, people did not fully understand how important it was to wash their hands at critical moments during the day, such as after the use of the bathroom, before eating, and coming in from a day outside. Due to studies and promotions done by the PPPHW in countries around the world, this information has now become common knowledge and common practice to improve health and minimize the spread of preventable illnesses.

Community Practicing Hand Hygiene on Global Handwashing Day

According to the CDC, practicing hand hygiene reduces:

  • The number of people who get sick with diarrhea by about 23–40%
  • Absenteeism due to gastrointestinal illness in schoolchildren by 29–57%
  • Diarrheal illness in people with weakened immune systems by about 58%
  • Respiratory illnesses, like colds, in the general population by about 16–21%

The History of Global Handwashing Day

1998: The PPPHW was formed with the goal of bringing public and private companies together to collaborate and study the effects of handwashing.

The first notable study was done in Bobo-Dioulasso, Burkina Faso in Africa where they successfully changed the population’s behavior by marketing the benefits of washing hands with water and soap after changing diapers.

The findings of this study were published by the World Health Organization in 2001.

2001: PPPHW was officially created and began to launch pilot programs in countries all over the world in an effort to reduce diseases with handwashing.

2008: After many successful pilot programs, PPPHW began to focus on knowledge sharing and advocacy activities to “improve effective handwashing behavior change into international development programs” and celebrated the first Global Handwashing Day.

Children displaying signs of best times to wash hands to prevent illness

2017: PPPHW renamed itself The Global Handwashing Partnership (GHP). The organization redefined itself with two main goals in mind:

  • “Advocating for hygiene targets and indicators within policy frameworks and accountability mechanisms.”
  • “Identify and promote best practices by providing tools, guidance, and resources to support improved handwashing programming.”

Today, the GHP describes itself as “a coalition of international stakeholders who work explicitly to promote handwashing with soap and recognize hygiene as a pillar of international development and public health.” You can read more about who the GHP is, its members, and its mission on their website here.

Global Handwashing Day Celebrations

The first Global Handwashing Day on October 15, 2008, included celebrations in 73 countries across five continents.

Last year, on October 15, 2020, the theme was “Hand Hygiene for All,” advocating that safe, clean water and soap should be accessible to everyone, everywhere to reduce the spread of preventable illnesses, including COVID-19.

Children practicing good hand hygiene at school

This year, the Global Handwashing Day 2021 theme is “Our Future is at Hand – Let’s Move Forward Together,” which calls for coordinated action to work towards universal hand hygiene.

It is an important reminder of how lucky those of us are to have such wide access to safe water and soap to wash our hands after using the bathroom or having a very productive cough. It’s so accessible and commonplace that some of us don’t even think about it. Thanks to the efforts of organizations like GHP, more people around the world are experiencing this same basic necessity in their communities.

How Cleansio is Celebrating Global Handwashing Day

We know how important hand hygiene is and we want to make sure everyone in our communities has the same knowledge and access to practice hand hygiene to keep everyone healthy.

To bring awareness and promote Global Handwashing Day, Cleansio is sponsoring a contest centered around our Foaming Hand Soap Tablets.

This contest is to promote Global Handwashing Day and make our celebration inclusive to our community from coast to coast. We can’t wait to see how fun your customizations are with your unique scent, color, and dispensers!

For more contest details and terms and conditions, please see our post Cleansio’s Foaming Hand Soap Tablets Customization Contest.

Please note, Cleansio is in no way affiliated with the Global Handwashing Partnership. We support their mission and are using their public materials on this site and social media to promote good hand hygiene and advocate for soap and water to be accessible to the global community.

Abuzz Labs
Abuzz Labs



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