Wash Hands to Keep Germs Away

On October 15, 2008, Global Hand Washing Day made its debut with an impressive turnout: over 120 million children from more than 70 countries across five continents participated in hand washing activities, emphasizing the critical importance of hand hygiene in disease prevention.

From Colombia to Bangladesh, Kenya to the Philippines, and beyond, schools and communities organized events to underscore the message that “Clean Hands Save Lives!”

Established during the International Year of Sanitation by the UN General Assembly, Global Hand Washing Day has consistently championed the cause of improved hygiene practices worldwide.

Dr. Akali, a general practitioner in Bangalore, highlights the fact that hands harbor the highest concentration of germs, posing a significant risk of infection transmission. Hand washing with soap emerges as a simple yet powerful measure to combat diarrhoea and acute respiratory infections, the leading causes of child mortality in developing nations.

Traditionally, thorough hand washing encompassed not only hands but also feet and face, a common practice in rural India. With the rise of infectious diseases resistant to antibiotics, the importance of this practice has been underscored.

While hand washing before meals is commonly emphasized, its significance extends beyond food consumption. Simple actions like handshakes can transmit viruses and bacteria, emphasizing the need for regular hand washing.

Teachers, recognizing their pivotal role in shaping students’ habits, prioritize imparting not only academic knowledge but also life skills such as manners and cleanliness. Zubaida Badsha, a teacher, underscores the rapid uptake of such practices among children, highlighting the effectiveness of early education in promoting hygiene habits.