According to the World Health Organisation, hand washing with soap is the most effective and inexpensive way to prevent diarrhea and acute respiratory infections, which take the lives of millions of children in developing countries every year. Together, they are responsible for the majority of all child deaths.
Yet, despite its lifesaving potential and cost-effectiveness, hand washing with soap is still seldom practiced and difficult to promote.
- Wetting hands with clean, running water (warm or cold) and applying soap, either in bar or liquid form.
- Rubbing hands together to make a lather and scrubbing them well, making sure to scrub the backs of hands, between fingers, and under nails. Doing this away from running water to make sure the lather isn't washed away.
- Rubbing hands for at least 20 seconds.
- Rinsing hands well under running water and drying them using a clean towel or air drying them.
Global Handwashing Day focuses on children because they suffer disproportionately from diarrhea and respiratory diseases. Also research shows that children – who in our experience are the most energetic, enthusiastic, and open to new ideas – can also be powerful agents for changing behaviors like hand washing with soap in their families and in their communities.