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Nurses and midwives are encouraged to lather up and promote Global Handwashing Day on 15 October.

The annual global advocacy day is aimed to increase awareness and understanding about the importance of handwashing with soap as an easy, effective and affordable way to prevent diseases and save lives.

Global Handwashing Day (GHD) theme for 2018 is ‘Clean hands – a recipe for health’ focusing on the links between handwashing and food, including food hygiene and nutrition.

Promotion of handwashing with soap is estimated to reduce diarrhoeal diseases by 27-48%.

Research indicates that existing routines can be modified to help form new habits.

Handwashing is more likely when handwashing facilities are established and time is set aside for handwashing such as before eating to develop a norm.

Founded by the Global Handwashing Partnership, GHD is an opportunity to design, test and replicate creative ways to encourage people to wash their hands with soap at critical times.

“We still seek to understand why people wash their hands and how motivation for handwashing can be translated into programs that result in effective behaviour change,” Global Handwashing Partnership Secretariat Director Carolyn Moore said.

Global Handwashing day is aimed to:

  • Foster and support a global and local culture of handwashing with soap
  • Shine a spotlight on the state of handwashing around the world
  • Raise awareness about the benefits of handwashing with soap

The first Global Handwashing Day was held in 2008 when over 120 million children around the world washed their hands with soap in more than 70 countries. Since then, over 200 million people are involved in celebrations in over 100 countries around the world.

To get involved and share your organisation’s work or your own family’s success stories or routines around handwashing, visit

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