“The simple practice of washing hands is the most important scientific and medical development of all time.”
– Tarzie Vittachi.
Have you ever celebrated Global Hand Washing Day in your school days? Do 100% city people know the steps followed for Hand-washing and how can we be so sure that they are clean and hygienic? Having studied in private institutions, I never celebrated this day or heard from anyone about various steps followed. But being in rural areas for last 3 months, I organised various orientations and events for the same. The poor population of our country definitely needs to learn all the hygienic norms to be followed to lead a better life, but I disagree on not promoting these activities in cities and in big schools and institutions. Does it mean we work stereo-typically!?
In these three months of rural immersion, I came to know about the ‘Global Hand Washing Day‘ which is celebrated on 15th October. I had never heard about it when I was in the city (as if ‘Global‘ only means villages). I wondered why this day is celebrated on a global level and what is the objective of orienting thousands of students to wash their hands on a daily basis with soaps and with all 5 steps. The students here regularly wash their hands and I don’t find any logic behind telling them to do it again and again. One fine day, I came back to my room and started researching on it, as I was not satisfied. After a lot of google search, I came across a research paper from UNICEF, stating some of the main reasons for the celebration of Global Hand Washing Day. Below are a few I would like to share:
- Washing hands with soap at critical times – after using the toilet, before eating and preparing food – reduces the incidence of diarrhea. Studies show that hand-washing with soap in primary schools and day care centers reduces the incidence of diarrhea by an average of 30 percent.
- Hand-washing with soap can reduce the incidence of acute respiratory infections (ARIs) by more than 20 percent.
- Hand-washing promotion in schools can play a role in reducing the number of days children miss school. Studies reveal that promotion and distribution of soap in primary schools results in more than 50 per cent fewer days of absence among students compared to schools without such an intervention.
- Hand-washing with soap is one of the most cost-effective interventions to prevent diarrhea-related deaths and diseases. Health costs due to hygiene-related diseases can also be reduced.
The objective of Global Hand Washing day is to increase the awareness and understanding of the importance of hand washing, which is a simple way to eradicate many communicable diseases. It’s a basic step to reach the final goal of sanitation in our country. Now a days, diseases like Chikungunya, Dengue, Asthma, Diarrhea are spreading not only in villages but in big cities as well. In fact, villages in comparison are better for the sustenance, one of the main reasons that bothered me on this issue.
After going through the above-mentioned points, what do you think?
Are these the points only valid for the village population?
And how many of you are already aware about these?
Are these not important for the city population?
The motive, here, is to promote the message of cleanliness and sanitation in the cities and I hope that next year with all the government schools, private schools will also get encouragement and celebrate these days with full zeal and enthusiasm.
To know the steps of hand washing, watch this video: