ⓘ Global Handwashing Day is an international handwashing promotion campaign to motivate and mobilize people around the world to improve their handwashing habits. ..


ⓘ Global Handwashing Day

Global Handwashing Day is an international handwashing promotion campaign to motivate and mobilize people around the world to improve their handwashing habits. Washing hands at critical points during the day and washing with soap are both important.

Global Handwashing Day occurs on 15 October of each year. The global campaign is dedicated to raising awareness of handwashing with soap as a key factor in disease prevention. Respiratory and intestinal diseases can be reduced by 25-50%.


1. Implementation and management

The Global Handwashing Partnership GHP formerly called "Public Private Partnership for Handwashing" PPPHW) established Global Handwashing Day in 2008 as a way to promote a global and local vision of handwashing with soap.

Steering Committee members of the GHP include Colgate-Palmolive; FHI 360; The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine; Procter & Gamble; UNICEF; Unilever; University at Buffalo; USAID; the Water and Sanitation Programme at the World Bank; and the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council.

Continued research on handwashing habits and practices is commissioned in conjunction with GHD. In 2011, Svenska Cellulosa Aktiebolaget SCA, sponsored a study to assess the handwashing habits of American and Canadian adults, finding that many were not using soap when washing their hands.


1.1. Implementation and management Aims

The stated aims of Global Handwashing Day are to:

  • Foster and support a general culture of handwashing with soap in all societies
  • Raise awareness about the benefits of handwashing with soap.
  • Shine a spotlight on the state of handwashing in each country

2. Activities

Each year, over 200 million people celebrate Global Handwashing Day.


  • On 15 October 2015, Lupok Central Elementary School, Guiuan Eastern Samar, Philippines, celebrated the Global Handwashing Day by doing the proper handwashing before starting classes.
  • Kasturba Hospitals listing in the Guinness Book of World Records discussing its public efforts in observing Global Handwashing Day.
  • Sometimes, groups choose to celebrate GHD on other dates than 15 October. In Ethiopia, 300 people celebrated Global Handwashing Day in Addis Ababa on 1 November in 2013.
  • On 15 October 2014, Madhya Pradesh, an Indian state, won the Guinness World Record for the most massive handwashing program. There were 1.276.425 children in 51 different districts participating.

3. History

Global Handwashing Day was initiated by the Global Handwashing Partnership GHP in August 2008 at the annual World Water Week in Stockholm, Sweden. This means that the first Global Handwashing Day took place on 15 October 2008. The date was appointed by the UN General Assembly. The year 2008 was also the International Year of Sanitation. The founding bodies in 2008 included: FHI360 a nonprofit human development organization based in the US, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Procter & Gamble, UNICEF, Unilever, World Bank Water & Sanitation Program and the United States Agency for International Development.


3.1. History Themes for annual Global Handwashing Day

  • 2015 - Raise a hand for hygiene.
  • 2011 - Clean hands save lives.
  • 2017 - Our hands, our future.
  • 2014 - Clean hands save lives. In 2014, Global Handwashing Day was used as an opportunity to fight Ebola. In Nigeria, for example, Concern Universal and Carex sponsored events featuring singer Sunny Neji.
  • 2019 - Clean Hands for All. In the USA, the US CDC used the theme Life is Better with Clean Hands and launched throughout the USA a national hand hygiene campaign targeting adults who are parents and caregivers in communicating the importance of handwashing before cooking at home and after using the bathroom when out in public. They used ideas such as Handwashing: a family activity and Handwashing: A healthy habit in the kitchen when focusing on parent educational roles with their children.
  • 2012 - I am a handwashing advocate.
  • 2018 - Clean hands - a recipe for health.
  • 2013 - The power is in your hands.
  • 2010 - Children and Schools.
  • 2016 - Make handwashing a habit.
  • 2008 - The focus for Global Handwashing Days inaugural year in 2008 was school children. In that year, the members pledged to get the maximum number of school children handwashing with soap in more than 70 countries. In India in 2008, cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar and his teammates joined an estimated 100 million schoolchildren around the country in lathering up for better health and hygiene as part of the first Global Handwashing Day.
  • 2009 - Spread the word, not the germs.


4. Background

The campaign was initiated to reduce childhood mortality rates and related respiratory and diarrheal diseases by introducing simple behavioral changes, such as handwashing with soap. This simple action can reduce the mortality rate of respiratory disease by 25%. Death from diarrheal diseases can be reduced by 50%. Across the world, more than 60 percent of health workers do not adhere to proper hand hygiene. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, US health care providers, on average, wash their hands less than half of the time they should. On any given day, one in 25 US hospital patients has at least one health care-associated infection.


4.1. Background Importance of handwashing

Handwashing with soap is very effective and the least expensive way to prevent diarrhea and acute respiratory infections. Pneumonia, a major ARI acute respiratory infection, is the number one cause of mortality among children under five years old, killing an estimated 1.8 million children per year. Diarrhea and pneumonia together account for almost 3.5 million child deaths annually. Handwashing with soap is estimated to reduce cases of diarrhea by 30% and respiratory infections by 21% in children under the age of five.

It is important to make handwashing into a habit. Good handwashing with soap before eating and after using the toilet into a regular habit can save more lives than any single vaccine or medical intervention, cutting deaths from diarrhea by almost half and deaths from acute respiratory infections by one-quarter.

Handwashing is usually done together with other sanitation interventions as part of water, sanitation and hygiene WASH programmes.

The Global Handwashing Day helps raise awareness of the importance of washing with soap, but it also makes it fun for children to get involved.

Proper hygiene requires that individuals know the importance of good hygiene and develop the habits to carry it out. There are people with plenty of money but nonetheless, they lack the important habits of timely handwashing with soap, and thereby unknowingly endanger themselves and others around them.

Peer influence is significant to seeing increased handwashing among students. In a study conducted in Kenya, researchers found that students were much more likely to wash their hands when another student is present. Peer influence is only successful, however, when students know that handwashing is a desirable action.


4.2. Background Related awareness days

The World Health Organization WHO celebrates a World Hand Hygiene Day on 5 May. In 2018 the theme was prevention of sepsis in health care. The theme of the year before was to combat antibiotic resistance AMR.


5. Global collaboration

  • Global Handwashing Day supports the "2013 Water for the World Act, which aims to improve effectiveness and efficiency of that part of U.S. foreign aid which is committed to global wa ter, s anitation, and h ygiene WASH by ensuring that funds will reach the neediest human populations who require WASH interventions the most.
  • The US Peace Corps volunteers have contributed to observation of Global Handwashing Day.

6. Campaign effectiveness

A 2012 study from China attempted to qualitatively assess Chinese social media users’ reactions to Global Handwashing Day GHD 2012, in particular, and to health promotion campaigns in general. They concluded that social media data in China can be used to evaluate public health campaigns in China.

  • recognized the Hand Sanitization Relay held on the occasion of Global Handwashing Day on October 15, 2016, as a world record. Kasturba Hospital achieved
  • professional services company based in Australia Global Handwashing Day an annual campaign Global Health Delivery Project, at Harvard University Growth
  • PPPHW 2014 Global Handwashing Day Planner s Guide, 3rd edition, prepared by FHI 360 for the Global Public - Private Partnership for Handwashing with Soap
  • washable menstrual pads and menstrual cups. Feminine hygiene products Global Handwashing Day 15 October Human right to water and sanitation Lists of special
  • sanitation for all. Global handwashing day List of minor secular observances Menstrual hygiene day What is World Toilet Day World Toilet Day Retrieved 16
  • low - income countries have handwashing facilities with soap and water at home only 14 of people in Sub - Saharan Africa have handwashing facilities. Worldwide
  • international days such as World Water Day Menstrual Hygiene Day World Toilet Day and Global Handwashing Day Through the Global Sanitation Fund GSF a multi - donor
  • hotels to recycle them and create 1 million new bars of soap by Global Handwashing Day on October 15. Brinkman, Paul 15 July 2014 Clean the World Becomes
  • coupled with students who do not practice good hygiene habits, like handwashing with soap, can result in long - lasting health and environmental consequences
  • Remembrance Day October 15 Global Handwashing Day October 15 World Students Day October 15 World Food Day October 16 International Day for the Eradication
  • which includes improving access to toilets and proper disposal of feces. Handwashing with soap appears protective. In areas where more than 20 of the population
  • Day Poland Rwagasore Day Burundi October 14 World Standards Day October 15 Breast Health Day Europe Evacuation Day Tunisia Global Handwashing