October 15 is Global Handwashing Day. Efforts are being to made to spread the message of washing hands to keep diseases at bay
An image forever frozen in the minds of Sachin Tendulkar fans: The star batsman leading students in a hand-washing ritual on the Mohali cricket grounds in 2008. Washing his hands in a rich lather of soap, he was observing the first Global Handwashing Day (October 15), which emphasises the need to wash one's hands with soap — and, in the right way — to prevent pathogen-induced diseases.
Born out of the Stockholm ‘World Water Week' in 2008 (The International Year of Sanitation), Global Handwashing Day (GHD) has found many promoters along the way. The Wiggles — a popular children's music entertainment group from Australia — scored a song, “Wash Your Hands!” (available on YouTube), and donated it to UNICEF for the first GHD. Sachin Tendulkar also features in a video (on YouTube) about GHD.
In 2009, Japanese dancer Kaiji Moriyama, who is sympathetic to the cause, pitched in with a dance performance (available on YouTube). High on audio-visual elements that specially appeals to children, it shows them how to wash their hands. Called the ‘Global Handwashing Dance', UNICEF Japan used it effectively for public announcements about GHD. Through YouTube, the dance has achieved wider reach.
In addition, NGOs working in the health sector, companies manufacturing products related to hygiene, and responsible citizens have also created videos to spread the GHD message, Clean Hands Save Lives (watch the ‘Global Handwashing Day Theme Video' on YouTube). While GHD is primarily targeted at children in the early years, adults are also being sensitised to the issue through videos made for them.