Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Global Handwashing Day

Today, Wednesday 15th October 2008, is the first-ever Global Handwashing Day The campaign will focus on schools and children: Of the approximately 120 million children born in the developing world each year, half will live in households without access to improved sanitation, at grave risk to their survival and development. Poor hygiene and lack of access to sanitation together contribute to about 88% of deaths from diarrhoeal diseases, accounting for 1.5 million diarrhoea-related under-five deaths each year. Children suffer disproportionately from diarrheal and respiratory diseases and deaths. But research shows that children – the segment of society so often the most energetic, enthusiastic, and open to new ideas – can also be powerful agents of behavioral change. I can understand the problem in the developing world where running water and soap are not available to everyone but in the UK , the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine just released shocking results of a study of contamination levels on commuters’ hands in five UK cities (Newcastle, Liverpool, Birmingham, London and Cardiff): A preliminary study of commuters found that the hands of people in northern UK were up to three times dirtier than those in the south, especially those of men, and overall, more than one in four commuters were found to have bacteria from faeces on their hands. (link via Eeeew! I can't believe so many people don't wash their hands! It's not just disgusting but it spreads infectious diseases. What has happened to simple good hand hygiene? I can't believe people don't know how important hand washing is. Rather, it would seem that people are being very lazy.

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