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Lather Up in Honor of Global Handwashing Day

Global partnership stresses the importance of clean hands for all

October 15, 2019

When most of us enter a restroom, we take for granted we will find clean water and plenty of soap. We know the importance of using the soap and water to clean our hands to prevent the spread of infectious disease.

Unfortunately, there are many parts of the world where people do not have access to soap and clean water to wash their hands. This inequity in handwashing facilities can put individuals at higher risk for diseases that impact their health, education, and economic outcomes.

Global Handwashing Day, commemorated every October 15, is an advocacy day dedicated to increasing the awareness and understanding about the importance of handwashing with soap as an effective and affordable way to prevent diseases and save lives. This year’s theme—clean hands for all—reminds participants that we must be inclusive when addressing handwashing disparities.

According to the Global Handwashing Partnership, only 60% of the world’s population has access to a basic handwashing facility. In the world’s least developed countries, only 28% of people have access to these facilities.

Currently, there are 17 countries where more than 10 million people lack handwashing facilities. And for those who have access to these facilities, not all contain soap. For example, in Ethiopia, only 0.1% of households had soap and clean water at the handwashing facility.

Health authorities as well as manufacturers of soap and other hygienic items are working to make these products available to everyone and teach them the proper way to wash their hands to remove germs. In the meantime, for those of us fortunate to have access to clean water and soap every day, CMM offers basic handwashing guidelines, so there’s no excuse not to lather up.

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