By Jane Kingsu-Cheng
It has been proven that having clean hands can save lives and keep health in check. According to globalhandwashing. org site, there are more than a million reported deaths of children every year. Diarrhea is believed to be the cause of death. Another report shows that children miss out on a total of 443 million school days per year due to water-related illness, more than half of which points to diarrhea as the main cause.
When to wash
Parents, caregivers, and teachers should remind children to wash their hands right after using the toilet and before having a meal. The US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reminds us to wash our hands after blowing our nose, coughing, and sneezing. Other points of contact include animals, animal feed, and garbage. Frequent handwashing, especially after the scenarios mentioned, will greatly help in preventing children from getting sick, be it from diarrhea, pneumonia, influenza, and other possible diseases.
Wash with soap
It is important that everyone is trained to wash their hands with running water and soap. Water is just not enough. The global handwashing organization site shares that soap can break down germ-carrying oils and can also aid in friction, rubbing and washing the germs away. One cannot have clean hands by washing for a mere five seconds. UNICEF suggests to sing the “Happy Birthday” song twice to make it to the 20-second mark of scrubbing your hands with soap.
All for one
For this year, Global Handwashing Day dreams of “Clean Hands for All.” Not everyone has access to handwashing facilities, and even the most basic handwashing promotion programs. Safeguard and Manila Water Foundation joins this mission by providing five faucet handwashing facilities and hygiene kits to more than 30 public schools nationwide, benefitting over 100,000 public school students and teachers. To celebrate the completion of this project, the inauguration of these facilities was held earlier this week in Bagong Nayon IV Elementary School in Antipolo City, Rizal. One hundred grade four students joined the handwashing session, and two thousand hygiene kits, with a towel and a Safeguard soap inside, were also distributed to the students.
The Philippine General Hospital (PGH) also joins the crusade by continuing the Clean Hands campaign, promoting handwashing from all levels. All healthcare workers, from department chairs, chief nurses, and hospital staff renewed their commitment to teach hand hygiene in all their training and service programs.
“Handwashing is one of the most important hygienic practices that children and health workers have to take to heart,” said Safeguard Brand Manager Clarence Lim-Ignacio. “This is why Safeguard proactively promotes the practice of washing hands with soap. Through the Global Handwashing Day celebration, we hope to raise even more awareness on its health benefits.”