The power is in your hands!

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Global Handwashing Day Celebrated Around the World -press statement

Somalilandsun – On October 15, 2013, hundreds of millions of people around the world will mobilize in schools, healthcare centers, and community spaces to celebrate Global Handwashing Day. Uniting around a theme of “The Power Is In Your Hands,” people from diverse national, ethnic, religious and socioeconomic strata will be connected as they spread the message that everyone can improve health through handwashing with soap.

Handwashing requires very little resources—just soap and a small amount of water. But, its impact is huge. Not only can handwashing with soap prevent common illnesses such as colds and influenza, but it also dramatically reduces the risk of diarrhea and pneumonia, which cause almost 5,000 childhood deaths each day, according to UNICEF.

It is for this reason that countless events will take place in over 100 countries on October 15 to celebrate handwashing with soap. For example, the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) in Latin America and the Children’s Global Hygiene Foundation in Australia will both attempt to set Guinness World Records for the most number of people washing their hands at the same time. Global organizations like UNICEF will celebrate the day in many of the countries where they operate. For example, in Ethiopia, UNICEF is linking their handwashing and polio eradication campaigns. In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) will provide lessons and hygiene kits to approximately 150 Atlanta-area public schools. The Global Public-Private Partnership for Handwashing (PPPHW) will host virtual celebrations including a Google Hangout, Twitter campaign using the hashtag #iwashmyhands, Instagram contest, and Global Handwashing Day Facebook banners. Messages from mass media and live events like these reached over one billion people last year. It is expected that the same will happen in 2013.

Global Handwashing Day represents a mass mobilization in support of handwashing; however, the momentum generated extends far beyond October 15. In many countries, Global Handwashing Day has been the impetus for organizations, governments, and schools to emphasize handwashing and hygiene behavior change throughout the year. We believe that this trend will continue as these organizations make renewed commitments to handwashing by observing this day.

The Global Public-Private Partnership for Handwashing calls upon everyone to join hands this year and celebrate the power of soap to improve health and save lives. For information on how to do so, please visit www.globalhandwashing.org

Contact: Hanna Woodburn

Tel: 202-884-8398

Email: hwoodburn@fhi360.org

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