Why Global Handwashing Day is More Important Now Than Ever

On Global Handwashing Day, USAID is reminding people that handwashing is more important than ever during a pandemic that could be stemmed, in part, by everyone taking hand hygiene seriously.

“Hand Hygiene for All” is the theme of this year’s Global Handwashing Day, following a recent World Health Organization initiative calling for improved hand hygiene. Formerly called “Public Private Partnership for Handwashing” (PPPHW), Global Handwashing Day was established in 2008 as an annual observance on October 15 as a way to design, test, and replicate creative ways to encourage people to wash their hands with soap at critical times during the day to prevent disease.

Among the ways USAID is marking annual observance this year during the COVID-19 pandemic is a podcast from Global Waters Radio featuring USAID water, sanitation, and hygiene experts: USAID/Indonesia’s Trigeany Linggoatmodjo and USAID/South Sudan’s Amuda Joseph. They discuss ways USAID has been elevating the role of handwashing in response to COVID-19 in recent months as well as challenges USAID has faced working to create sustainable handwashing behavior change during the pandemic.

USAID is a member of the steering committee for Global Handwashing Day along with the Water and Sanitation Programme at the World Bank, UNICEF, The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, FHI 360, Procter & Gamble, Unilever, University at Buffalo, and the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council.