Global handwashing day is observed on 15 October every year with aims to raise awareness about the importance of hand hygiene and washing hand with soap and water. Handwashing with soap and water can help prevent numerous diseases and it has also been found out that that regular washing hands with soap can reduce the likelihood of COVID-19 infection by 36%. Further, it can also reduce diarrheal diseases by 30% to 48% and reduce acute respiratory infections by 20%.
Amidst the global health pandemic, we have realized that hand washing is the first line of defense and simplest ways to control the spread of viruses and germs including COVID-19. It is also a cost-effective method. In Nepal, around 52% of people don’t have access to water and sanitization facilities at their homes. Although sanitization facilities have improved over years still people are not aware of the importance of handwashing as many people believe that their hands look clean so they don’t need to wash every time after basic chores. They even neglect washing hands after returning home from fields, before preparing foods, cleaning and feeding babies, and after coming in contact with animals. This negligence is seen mostly in rural parts of Nepal and especially when they are in rush.
Globally, there are nearly 1.7 billion cases of childhood diarrheal disease every year and each year diarrhea kills around 525 000 children under five. Sixty-one out of every 1,000 children born in Nepal die before celebrating their fifth birthday, and among these, a third die even before they are a year old. Many of these deaths can be prevented by the simple, yet vital act of washing hands with soap and water. We Nepalese are prone to diseases as we neglect the basic tendency of washing hands with soap and water and take it for granted. Many people share taps and toilets with other households so it’s very essential to understand the importance of handwashing with soap and water.
Hand washing is a basic health practice that every individual needs to understand and adopt. We should change our deep-rooted behavior to ignore cleaning hands and try to raise awareness to family, friends, and society about the importance of hand hygiene. Besides that, national and local governments should increase access to handwashing and sanitization facilities in public places.
Binita is a Public Relations Executive at Prisma Advertising. She joined Prisma in January 2019 and has been actively working with Xiaomi Nepal. Before Joining Prisma, she worked at Suvadin Media and Research Center for 1.5 Years. She is also the student of Master in Economics at Ratna Rajya Laxmi Campus. She can be contacted here.
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