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Global Handwashing Day


washing hands

Global Handwashing Day is an annual observance founded by the Global Public-Private Partnership for Handwashing with Soap 1. This observance was created to raise awareness about the benefits of handwashing with soap and shine a spotlight on the state of handwashing around the world. Since 2008, Global Handwashing Day has been celebrated annually on October 15 by over 200 million people in over 100 countries.

Handwashing is one of the most important steps we can take to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others. Many diseases and conditions are spread by not washing hands with soap and clean, running water. Handwashing is especially important during key times, such as after using the bathroom or before preparing food. Learn more about when and how to wash your hands.

someone washing their hands under a running water

Teaching people about handwashing helps them and their communities stay healthy. Handwashing education in the community can:

  • Reduce the number of people who get sick with diarrhea by about 30% 2, 3
  • Reduce diarrheal illness in people with HIV by about 50% 4
  • Reduce respiratory illnesses, like colds, in the general population by about 20% 3

You can help promote Global Handwashing Day in your community with these resources and materials.

Visit the links below to learn more about Global Handwashing Day.

Official Website

  1. The Global Public-Private Partnership for Handwashing. 2015.
  2. Ejemot-Nwadiaro RI, Ehiri JE, Arikpo D, Meremikwu MM, Critchley JA. Hand washing promotion for preventing diarrhea. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2015:3:CD004265.
  3. Aiello AE, Coulborn RM, Perez V, Larson EL. Effect of hand hygiene on infectious disease risk in the community setting: a meta-analysis. Am J Public Health. 2008; 98(8):1372-81.
  4. Huang DB, Zhou J. Effect of intensive handwashing in the prevention of diarrhoeal illness among patients with AIDS: a randomized controlled study. J Med Microbiol. 2007;56(5):659-63.