Global Handwashing Day 2020: Know history, significance, importance and everything else you need to know about hand hygiene

Global handwashing Day is observed every year on October 15 to spread awareness about the importance of hand hygiene. This day is dedicated to make people aware of the benefits of handwashing with soap as an easy, effective, and affordable way to prevent diseases. The Coronavirus pandemic in the year 2020 has played a pivotal role to make people understand the importance of clean and sanitized hands, even then 40 per cent of the world’s population do not have access to basic handwashing facilities. Read on to know the history, significance and importance of washing hands.


This day was founded by the Global Handwashing Partnership, an international coalition of organizations working to promote handwashing with soap. Every year, a theme is selected on this day to focus on Sustainable Development Goal which is ‘leave no one behind’. The government of India raises awareness about this day through National Health Portal and suggests the ways to keep hands clean.


According to several studies, infected hands can cause 90 per cent of diseases and to prevent them, one should wash hands on a regular basis. National Health Portal of India says, around 47 per cent of diarrheal diseases preventable through handwashing. Near 16 per cent of respiratory infections can be prevented and 1:92 estimated return on investment of national handwashing behavior change program in India. Also, India witnessed 40 per cent reduction in healthcare-associated infections with correct hand hygiene.

Steps to wash hands properly: (Source: National Health Portal)

1. Firstly, wet your hands with water.
2. Apply enough soap to cover all hand surfaces.
3. Rub hands with palm to palm.
4. Place right palm over left dorsum (back of hand) with interlaced fingers and vice versa.
5. Put palm to palm with fingers interlaced.
6. Backs of fingers to opposing palms with finger interlocked.
7. Rotational rubbing of left thumb clasped in right palm and vice versa.
8. Rotational rubbing, backwards and forwards with clasped fingers of the right hand in left palm and vice versa.
9. Rinse hands with water.
10. Dry thoroughly with a single-use towel or clean towel.
11. Use a towel (single use) to turn off the faucet.

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