Handwashing has been and continues to be one of the most cost-effective interventions against the transmission of diseases that public health has. The promotion of the correct handwashing, with soap and water, can save many lives.
Every year, around 3.5 million boys, and girls die without celebrating their fifth birthday because of preventable disease, maily by diarrheal diseases and acute respiratory disease. The adoption of the habit of handwashing with soap and water, before eating and after using the toilet, can avoid almost half of the number of death from diarrheal diseases, and almost one fourth of the deaths from acute respiratory diseases.
In order to achieve the Millennium Development Goal #4 of reducing - in more than two thirds- the number of deaths in children less than 5 years of age before 2015 is necessary to promote handwashing in a larger-scale.
PAHO/WHO in collaboration with countries of the Americas are promoting the establishment of a Guinness World Record of most students washing their hands in multiple locations since 2008. The purpose of this initiative is to support the mobilization of schools during the celebration of the Global Handwashing Day, to get the attention of the media and strengthen the programs for hygiene promotion, handwashing and sanitation that are carried out across countries throughout the entire year.
Global Handwashing Day
On October 15 every year, the world celebrates the simple act of handwashing with soap and water. This year, countries of the Americas will attempt to break the Guinness World Record of most people washing their hands on the same day.