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Global Handwashing Day 2017 Press Release

October 9, 2017

WASHINGTON, DC – October 9, 2017. On October 15th, hundreds of millions of people around the world will celebrate Global Handwashing Day. Global Handwashing Day was founded by the Global Handwashing Partnership, an international coalition of organizations working to promote handwashing with soap. Handwashing with soap is an effective way to prevent disease, but still is not practiced as often or as thoroughly as it should be.

This year’s theme is ‘Our Hands, Our Future’, highlighting how the benefits of handwashing go beyond protecting one’s own health. Good handwashing can prevent disease outbreaks, reduce school absences, and improve healthcare outcomes. Despite these benefits, handwashing with soap is practiced too rarely, and the results are tragic. Every year, 1.4 million children die from diarrhea or pneumonia. Infections cause 15% of newborn deaths. Handwashing with soap is an effective way to prevent these losses.

In fact, simple handwashing with soap at critical times—such as after using the toilet or before eating—can reduce the incidence of diarrhea among children under five by nearly half and respiratory infections by approximately 25%. Good hygiene is necessary for good nutrition, particularly for children, and to prevent the spread of common diseases like colds and flu. For everyone, handwashing with soap is a simple, but critical, way to remove barriers to education and productivity.

Global Handwashing Day seeks to raise awareness about the importance of handwashing, and encourage action to promote and sustain handwashing habits. To encourage handwashing every day, organizations and communities can ensure access to handwashing stations with soap, provide education on the importance of handwashing, and motivate people to wash their hands to ensure a healthy future.

About Global Handwashing Day

Global Handwashing Day was founded in 2008 by the Global Handwashing Partnership (GHP). The GHP and its partner organizations encourage everyone to join this celebration; and to contribute to healthy, prosperous communities through handwashing with soap, both on Global Handwashing Day and beyond October 15.

About the Global Handwashing Partnership

The Global Handwashing Partnership is an international coalition of organizations focused on promoting handwashing with soap as key to health and development. The GHP Steering Committee members are: FHI 360, the U.S. Agency for International Development, Procter & Gamble, Unilever, UNICEF, the Water Supply & Sanitation Collaborative Council, Colgate-Palmolive, the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, and the Water & Sanitation Program at the World Bank. The partnership is supported by two Strategic Partners (Dow Chemical and the University at Buffalo) and a growing number of members.

Download the official press release here. For more information, contact or visit

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