Global Handwashing Day, celebrated every 15 October, is a worldwide campaign to sensitise and mobilise people around the world to wash their hands with soap. This year’s edition, with the theme, “Choose Handwashing, Choose Health,” is essentially meant to raise awareness about handwashing as a key approach to prevention of diseases.
According to a press release by the Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria (ACPN), signed by its national chairman, Pharm. (Alh) Olufemi Ismail Adebayo, handwashing is a choice that everyone can make many times a day.
“When people choose to wash their hands with soap, especially after using the restroom and before touching food, they are choosing to create a healthier environment, not only for themselves but for people around them,” it said.
The statement further urged people to imbibe handwashing, not only on Global Handwashing Day but every day.
It noted that handwashing focuses on children because research has shown that children are the segment of the society that are energetic, enthusiastic, and open to new ideas, adding that they are powerful agents of change for behavioural shift like handwashing with soap in their communities.
The ACPN national chairman however disclosed that the association, as a key stakeholder in healthcare delivery, had been marking the event with visits to primary and secondary schools, with practical demonstration of proper handwashing with soap under running water, since 2011.
“We believe that a vast change in hand washing behaviour is critical to meeting the Millennium Developmental Goals (MDGs) of reducing mortality of children under 5 years by two third by year 2015.Handwashing with soap under running water still remains the cheapest and most effective way to prevent Ebola, diarrhea, typhoid and respiratory diseases,” he said.