Global Handwashing Day is observed every year on October 15. Last year in 2016, GFA-supported workers held events throughout Asia to teach the importance of washing hands and how it can help prevent many fatal illnesses.
Inexpensive Disease Prevention
According to CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), “About 1.8 million children under the age of 5 die each year from diarrheal diseases and pneumonia, the top two killers of young children around the world. Handwashing with soap could protect about 1 out of every 3 young children who get sick with diarrhea and almost 1 out of 5 young children with respiratory infections like pneumonia.”
These ailments are often contracted from germs and bacteria. Teaching people at a young age the importance of washing hands with soap before eating and after using the toilet is one of the most effective and inexpensive ways of preventing disease. It can also save more lives than any single vaccine or medical intervention, cutting deaths from diarrhea by almost half and deaths from acute respiratory infections by one-quarter.
Taking Part in Global Awareness
GFA-supported workers and pastors throughout Asia observe this day by holding events that teach people in their communities how cleanliness leads to good health. Along with practical workshops that demonstrate to children and adults alike how to wash their hands properly, they also showed them pictures and gave them soap.
Janith, 10, said, “I am very happy to participate in the Global Handwashing Day program and learn how to wash my hands before and after having food and using toilet for our safety and good health. I thank the church and the staff for conducting such a helpful program.”
Larisa, mother of a Bridge of Hope child, said, “Before we use to wash our hands with only water, but through this program we came to know the importance of washing hands with soap. Now and then we wash our hands neatly with soap and prevent the diseases which comes through uncleanness of our hands.”
Another attendee named Abhaya said, “Last time I got sickness and the doctor was asking me ‘Did you wash your hands properly?’ I said no. He said, ‘You need to wash your hands properly,’ but the doctor did not teach me how to wash hands properly. From this awareness, now I learned how to wash my hands properly. So I thank you for teaching me.”
This year, GFA-supported workers plan on hosting many similar events in various parts of Asia to spread awareness of the life-saving effects of washing hands with soap.
Please pray for their efforts, and that many people will gain the knowledge that could end up saving their lives.