15 October 2012
Global Handwashing Day aims to increase awareness and understanding of the importance of handwashing with soap as an effective and affordable way to prevent infections.
Menzies School of Health Research in partnership with the NT Government will be running a number of initiatives and producing resources to promote Global Handwashing Day 2012 in NT schools.
Infants and young children living in remote Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory (NT) experience a high burden of infection. For example, in the NT, an Indigenous infant aged between 4 weeks and 1 year (post-neonate) is 7-8 times more likely to be admitted to hospital than a non-Indigenous child of the same age, particularly for diarrhoeal disease and respiratory infection. Children frequently have 2-3 infections at any one time. The median number of presentations per child (aged < 5 yrs) per year for one remote clinic was 16 (23 in the first year of life). Infections (eg acute respiratory, skin, diarrhoeal disease) are the most common reasons (68%) for these presentations.
Handwashing with soap is among the most effective and inexpensive ways to prevent diarrhoeal diseases and pneumonia. Together, these diseases are responsible for the deaths of over 3.5m children under the age of 5 every year. In developed countries, handwashing helps to prevent the spread of viral infections, such as norovirus, rotavirus and influenza.
Although people around the world wash their hands with water, many do not wash
their hands with soap at critical moments, including after going to the toilet, after changing babies’ nappies and before handling or eating food. The challenge is to transform handwashing with soap from an abstract good idea into an automatic behaviour carried out in homes, schools, workplaces and communities.
Global Handwashing Day aims to mobilise millions of people to wash their hands with soap. This simple activity could save more lives than any vaccine or medical intervention, preventing the spread of infection and keeping children in school. Children, who so often are energetic, enthusiastic and open to new ideas, can act as agents of change by taking the handwashing lessons learned at school back into their homes and communities. Global Handwashing Day aims to motivate children to embrace and share proper handwashing practices and to take on the role of and washing ambassadors.
Wash your hands instructional video for young children
Lyrics - Global Handwashing Day song
Games and activities:
Number Game 1
Number Game 2
Word Game 1
Word Game 2
Word Game 3
Four Fingers Game