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Global Handwashing Day 2012
October 15th marks the fifth annual Global Handwashing Day (GHD), themed ‘Help More Children Reach Their 5th Birthday’. Global Handwashing Day aims to promote sustainable, long-term handwashing habits. Handwashing has even been dubbed the ‘do-it-yourself’ vaccine, as the easiest and most cost-effective way to help prevent the spread of disease. The benefits of handwashing extend beyond health: handwashing with soap can have a positive impact on education, as diarrhoea is responsible for millions of children missing school.
Handwashing is an important message in DMI’s radio campaign in Burkina Faso. This campaign is broadcasting health messages that promote healthy behaviours to pregnant women and new mothers, with the aim of saving thousands of lives and reducing the large number of children dying before their fifth birthday in Burkina Faso. Handwashing with soap can prevent diarrhoea, pneumonia and other diseases that prevent many children from reaching their fifth birthday. The intervention aims to reduce under-5 child mortality by 20% and is being evaluated using a cluster randomised controlled trial.
Global Handwashing Day in 2011 reached over 250 million people around the world, with messaging on the importance of handwashing with soap across Bangladesh, Brazil, Cambodia, Egypt, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Nigeria, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan and Vietnam. GHD has inspired three Guinness World Record attempts related to handwashing in Kenya, Nigeria and Indonesia.