Global Handwashing Day was originally created for children and schools, but can be celebrated by anyone promoting handwashing with soap. Each year, over 200 million people are involved in celebrations in over 100 countries around the world.
- Human feces are the main source of diarrheal pathogens.
- They are the source of shigellosis, typhoid, cholera, all other common endemic gastro-enteric infections and some respiratory infections such as influenza and pneumonia.
- A single gram of human feces can contain 10 million viruses and one million bacteria.
- Research shows that children living in households exposed to handwashing promotion and soap had half the diarrheal rates of children living in control neighborhoods.
- Because handwashing can prevent the transmission of a variety of pathogens, it may be more effective than any single vaccine.
- Promoted on a wide enough scale, handwashing with soap can be thought of as a “do-it-yourself” vaccine.
- Ingraining the habit of handwashing could save more lives than any single vaccine or medical intervention.