What do you know about Hand Washing?

Author(s): Compiled from http://www.usaid.gov/our_work/global_health/eh/news/ghwd09.html

What do you know about hand washing?

  1. Handwashing at critical times – including after using the toilet and before eating or preparing food – can reduce diarrhoea rates by almost 44 percent among children under 5.

  2. More than 5,000 children every day – 1.7 million children every year – under the age of 5 die from diarrheal diseases. Diarrhoea is the second most common cause of death in children, accounting for 18 percent of all under-5 deaths.

  3. Handwashing with soap is one of the most cost-effective interventions to prevent deaths and disease resulting from diarrhoea.

  4. Handwashing with soap can reduce acute respiratory infections by around 23 percent. Pneumonia kills an estimated 1.8 million children per year and is the number one cause of mortality among children under five years old.

  5. A recent study shows that when birth attendants and mothers washed their hands with soap, it significantly increased newborn survival rates by up to 44 percent.

  6. Observed rates of handwashing with soap at critical moments – i.e. before handling food and after using the toilet – are very low, ranging from 0 to 34 percent.

  7. Hands should be scrubbed with soap for at least 20 seconds. The key is to make handwashing with soap an automatic behaviour in homes, schools, and communities.


Watch the USAID’s handwashing video at http://www.globalhandwashingday.org/GHD_Video.asp