• Monday, Dec 06, 2021
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Habit of 'handwashing' amongst children would build a healthy generation

  • Published at 05:07 pm October 21st, 2021
Representative picture of handwashing Bigstock

Every year on October 15, under the auspices of the United Nations, Global Handwashing Day is commemorated across the world

As students have returned to school after 18 months and although the infection rate is declining, health risks remain high. 

In addition to taking extra precautions to protect children, adopting some habits like frequently washing hands could protect them from the virus.  

The habit of handwashing with soap on a regular basis can help prevent diarrhoea, worms, and other viral infections. 

There is still a lot of negligence in this aspect and many people around the world fall ill due to a lack of awareness about the importance of handwashing. 

Unicef estimates that three out of every ten people in the world lack access to basic necessities like soap and water.

Every year on October 15, under the auspices of the United Nations, Global Handwashing Day is commemorated across the world to protect the health of family members by instilling the habit of handwashing and keeping them germ-free. 

The theme for this year's observance was "Our future is at hand - let's move forward together". 

This time 'Global Handwashing Day 2021' has been commemorated all over the country with public and private initiatives.

Diarrhoea and pneumonia are one of the leading causes of infant mortality worldwide as each year, more than 780,000 children under the age of five die from diarrhoea, and 440,000 from pneumonia, according to Unicef. 

However, it is possible to reduce diseases like diarrhoea to a maximum of 45% and pneumonia to a maximum of 23% through family awareness, cleanliness and the habit of washing children's hands.

As part of its commitment, the world’s number one hygiene soap brand- Lifebuoy, launched a campaign, 'H for handwashing', to inculcate the habit of handwashing in children. 

In collaboration with private development agency Brac, the brand launched a month-long handwashing campaign that aims to teach 3.5 million kids across 700 schools around the country about the significance and appropriate technique of handwashing.

To date, Lifebuoy has taught proper handwashing steps to more than one crore 10 lakh children in Bangladesh. 

Inspired by how children learn their A, B, C’s, last year Lifebuoy set out on a mission to transform the way the letter H is taught. 

The brand launched the “H for Handwashing” multi-year campaign carrying a simple message-- while H is for a hat, horse, etc, H must also stand for Handwashing. 

Lifebuoy has proposed incorporating “H for Handwashing” and “হ তে হাত ধোয়া” in the early education and primary education curriculum so children learn about the importance of handwashing at an early age and the behaviour is ingrained in them. 

Last year in March, Unilever in collaboration with Brac launched a week-long hygiene campaign among underprivileged people. 

During the course of the week-long campaign, Lifebuoy distributed 500,000 liquid soap packets to impoverished households in eight municipalities throughout 43 districts in Bangladesh, as well as 12 city corporations, including Dhaka North and South. 

Later, Unilever also handed over lifebuoy liquid soap to the funds of the welfare organization of Bangladesh Armed Forces - Army Welfare Organization (SKS) for the distribution of liquid soaps to the people of remote areas.

In addition, Lifebuoy and Digital Healthcare Solutions (DH) Social Business Digital Hospital have partnered to offer one million minutes of free digital 'Doctor Consultations' across the country. 

In order to ensure the wellbeing from the ongoing effects of the Covid-19 and various illnesses such as colds and fevers, Lifebuoy provided its consumers with the opportunity to consult a doctor through video calls, chats and phone calls.

This year, Lifebuoy hosted the World’s Largest Virtual Classroom with a sesame workshop. 

This virtual classroom, which was set to seek a spot in the Guinness World Records, drew teachers, parents, and students from more than 30 countries.

Speaking on the occasion, cricket star Shakib Al Hasan said in a Facebook post to the commencement of the virtual classroom: “This year, Lifebuoy has taken the initiative to set a Guinness World Record for the World’s Largest Virtual Classroom. As part of its initiative to incorporate ‘H for handwashing’ in primary education, there will be fun, interactive and research-based virtual modules. This healthy habit of handwashing can lead to a world where "safe hands, safe country" becomes a reality."

According to experts, 20% to 25% of the total human diseases account for a lack of proper handwashing. 

From the money in our wallets to the mobile phones, headphones, laptops, mice, keyboards, TV or AC remote controls, door handles, windows, elevator buttons, stair railings, office desks, raw fish and meat, everything has the presence of germs. 

Every day as we subconsciously touch our eyes, nose and mouth with our hands innumerable times, unclean hands can lead germs to enter the body and cause infection.

Proper handwashing with soap reduces the risk of contracting an infection. 

In order to reduce the risk, hands must first be soaked in water and for at least 20 seconds, vigorously rub the soap on both sides of both hands, between the fingers, and under the nails. 

After that, it should be rinsed with water.

Lack of awareness about handwashing is more prevalent in underdeveloped and developing countries. 

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