Global Handwashing Day

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From: 15/10/2015
To: 15/10/2015
Location: Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire

October 15 is Global Handwashing Day, a global advocacy day dedicated to increasing awareness and understanding about the importance of handwashing with soap as an effective and affordable way to prevent diseases.

Global Handwashing Day is commemorated due to the simple fact that while handwashing with soap can improve health and save lives, it isn’t practiced nearly enough. Each year, preventable illnesses such as diarrhea and pneumonia contribute to the deaths of 1.7 million children globally.* In Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, handwashing has been a key tool in fighting the spread of Ebola Virus Disease. The Bank has funded programs in hand hygiene focusing on schools and workplaces in ECOWAS countries as one of the most effective and readily available measures to halt the spread of Ebola and other infectious diseases.

Since the creation of Global Handwashing Day in 2008, an increasing number of national and local governments have begun implementing policies and programs that promote handwashing with soap. This Government Handwashing Report highlights some examples of the roles governments can play in handwashing behaviour change.

In Mali, for example, handwashing stations have been integrated into the national community-led total sanitation program and, in addition to latrines, are required for communities to obtain open-defecation free designation. This video report from Mali shows how rural populations have benefited from a Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Initiative (RWSSI) grant of 10.73 million euros. The funds co-finance the Mali national drinking water supply and sanitation project in Gao, Koulikoro and Segou regions.

* Extract from the Global Public-Private Partnership for Handwashing with Soap (PPPHW) Guide.