“Clean hands save lives.” It’s a slogan that sounds like a simple solution to an enormous problem, but according to the Center for Disease Control, clean hands do indeed save lives by helping prevent the spread of disease and infection. For impoverished communities, prevention may be better than seeking treatment when infections or diseases do come, especially because treatment may not be affordable or available.
In Defense of Health
Annually, on October 15, organizations around the world celebrate Global Handwashing Day to highlight the importance of handwashing in preventing the spread of disease. Gospel for Asia (GFA World) missionaries, pastors and workers also organize programs that aim to inform and teach the communities they serve how to protect themselves from sicknesses that are spread through unclean hands, knowledge that is especially important during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The area where Gospel for Asia (GFA) pastor Reinhard serves is particularly rife with diseases, including typhoid. Because the village is devoid of proper medical facilities, the villagers must either make a long and expensive trip or let infections take their toll. Many villagers, a field correspondent reported, were losing their lives to these sicknesses at a young age.
Seeing the great need in his area to help people stay healthy, Pastor Reinhard and other volunteers organized a Global Handwashing Day program to teach people how they can protect themselves from disease by washing their hands. At the program, the workers demonstrated handwashing techniques and shared about the increased risk of becoming sick when people do not properly wash their hands.
Bringing Help Where It’s Needed
Like Pastor Reinhard, hundreds of other Gospel for Asia (GFA) workers serving in impoverished areas brought the same message to those who need it most. In one region, more than 400 men, women and children across dozens of villages were taught how to protect themselves from disease through proper handwashing.
Addressing the gathered families in his village, Pastor Reinhard summed up the message he and thousands of workers like him brought to many: “Wash your hands properly … and it will help you to keep yourself physically sound and healthy, by washing away germs that can cause preventable diseases such as pneumonia, diarrhea and [typhoid]. On the occasion of Global Handwashing Day, we should help others by teaching them about [how] ‘clean hands save lives.’”