WHO challenges the world to wash their hands on social media in an effort to raise awareness about the spread of germs and the millions of people without access to soap and water.
Rabat – Today, May 5, is the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Global Hand Hygiene Day, an international day serving as a reminder to reduce the spread of germs and the risk of infections by keeping hands properly cleaned. This year, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the celebration is timely.
WHO themed this year’s celebration with the tagline, “Save Lives: Clean Your Hands.”
The campaign, combined with a celebration of nurses and midwives, is meant to mobilize policy-makers to provide safe working environments, especially for those on the front-lines of healthcare.
WHO hopes the campaign will inspire more hygienic practices and engage healthcare workers in their role in preventing infections. Above all, the goal of Global Hand Hygiene Day is to increase awareness around the importance of handwashing and to reduce the spread of diseases.
To make handwashing a little more fun, WHO challenged social media users to take to their Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Snapchat, or TikTok and post a video showing how they keep their hands clean.
The challenge requires you to follow the WHO guidelines for safe handwashing and suggests interpreting the handwashing steps in your local language.
The handwashing challenge also asks participants to invite their friends to join in on the fun by tagging others and sharing the hashtag, #SafeHands. The most creative and engaging videos will be featured on WHO channels.
Political leaders and celebrities have stepped up in an effort to share their hygiene habits.
The official WHO African Region Twitter page called on stakeholders to make hand hygiene more accessible.
“Today is World Hand Hygiene Day! Hand Hygiene is one of the most effective actions to stop the spread of infection, including COVID-19. Yet many do not have access to this basic service. Stakeholders must urgently mobilize for access to hand hygiene for all,” the WHO branch shared.
According to WHO, approximately 1 in every 10 people worldwide lack access to basic handwashing facilities including soap inside their homes.
How and when to wash your hands
WHO recommends washing your hands for 40 to 60 seconds, or for the time it takes you to sing the Happy Birthday song twice, following the steps below.
WHO recommends that hands should be washed often throughout the day.
However, key times include: before, during, and after preparing food, and before eating food.
Hand washing is also crucial before and after treating a wound, using the toilet, or caring for someone who is sick.
Thorough hand washing is equally necessary after touching garbage; handling or feeding animals; blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing; and after changing a child’s diaper or assisting them using the toilet.
WHO also recommends using an alcohol-based hand rub, such as hand sanitizer, if soap and water are not readily available.