Hand hygiene a priority to global disease spread — UNICEF.




Today is celebrated globally as hand washing day, the largest annual event for hand hygiene is Global Hand Washing Day, celebrated on 15 October. It is endorsed by governments, international institutions, civil society organizations, non-governmental organizations, private companies and individuals, and commemorated around the globe to make hand hygiene a habitual practice.

Good hand hygiene is a cornerstone of safe and effective health care. It is a highly cost-effective public health measure that is also crucial to protecting against a range of diseases like pneumonia and diarrhoea.

Global and national estimates reflect vast inequalities in access to hand washing, even within countries. Where hand hygiene facilities are available, research has shown that people, especially men, do not use them consistently. Greater political support and behaviour change interventions are needed to make substantial improvements in the policies, strategies and actions that drive sustainable change.

Key facts (UNICEF)

  • 2.3 billion people do not have a hand washing facility with water and soap at home.
  • Almost half of schools lack a hand washing facility with water and soap, affecting some 802 million school-age children.
  • Roughly half of health-care facilities lack hand hygiene facilities at points where patients are treated.

The UNICEF has therefore, calls for Countries and State Governments to support the national hand washing campaigns and helps integrate hand washing into other existing programmes – like health, education and nutrition more especially in the rural areas and the vulnerable.