World Hand Hygiene Day 2017 – Join us in the ‘Hygiene Matters’ global conversation
Today marks a very special day. It is a day where we join to break the silence and talk about World Hand Hygiene Day, which is sponsored by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and which seeks to celebrate our real hygiene heroes, the healthcare professionals, and everything that they do to make hospital environments safe.
However, according to the WHO, as many as 1.7 million people die every year from diarrheal disease and 90% of these people are children under the age of five, living predominantly in developing countries. In addition to small children, the most vulnerable are women. Researchers from WaterAid, UNICEF and WHO (among others) put the number of women that die from childbirth complications each year to as high as 289,000 globally. Therefore, World Hand Hygiene Day is also a reminder that we need to continue to raise awareness on all the ways we can practice good hand hygiene and reduce these startling numbers drastically.
Why is this happening?
WaterAid, UNICEF, WHO et al argued that new mothers and newborns are still dying because there is little supply of reliable safe water, adequate toilets and general good hygiene practice, despite any improvements made in healthcare.* The SCA, a leading global hygiene company and manufacturer of UK brands including TENA, Bodyform, Plenty, Velvet and Cushelle, operates in 60 different countries and manufactures products that make a difference in people’s lives. Their aim is to spread the message that no one, no matter who they are or where they live, should have to suffer physically or mentally due to insufficient hygiene. This is a basic human right.
World Hand Hygiene Day 2017 and the Hygiene Matters Initiative
The SCA Hygiene Matters survey was conducted between May 31 and June 13, 2016, through web panels in 12 different countries. 12,000 answers from respondents were collected and questions centred around hygiene taboos and stereotypes, hygiene at home, public hygiene, personal hygiene and menstruation, and active life. You can access the full results and previous surveys and reports on Hygiene Matters’ website here.
The SCA is running a global campaign on World Hand Hygiene Day (May 5th), not just to celebrate the work of healthcare professionals and what they do to make hospital environments safe, but to promote its Hygiene Matters research and the importance of good hand hygiene because the majority of us know that if we maintain good hand hygiene we experience better health and well-being. But, this message needs to be spread throughout the world and the SCA are fully committed to making sure everyone globally receives this memo.
“… That good hygiene helps save lives and sustain prosperity.” Magus Groth, President and CEO, SCA
So, since 2008, the Hygiene Matters initiative has been igniting the conversation around the role and importance of hygiene in a global perspective, but to also really make a difference. Through SCA’s training programs that reach 2,000,000 people annually, they seek to raise knowledge, improve care and break the silence and taboos that surround hygiene-related areas, such as menstruation and incontinence.
But, that’s not all…
A recent study by Vinova, which looked at ways to decrease healthcare-associated infections came up with some pretty startling statistics:
- An estimated 4,000,000 people a year in the EU have suffered from a healthcare-associated infection, i.e. an infection they would not have gotten had they not been in hospital
- 37,000 people in the EU have died directly because of a healthcare-associated infection
- 1 in 25 patients in the US has had a healthcare-associated infection every day.
Thus, World Hand Hygiene Day also raises awareness to hospitals exercising better hand hygiene, so that viral/bacterial infections are not transmitted from patient to patient and, subsequently, from patient to home.
Teach our children good hand hygiene – Ella’s Handwashing Adventure App
These above statistics are astonishing to say the very least! So, we all must start thinking about how we keep ourselves and our families clean and safe by exercising good proper hand hygiene. SCA brand Tork, understands the importance of learning about good hand hygiene from the very start and have created the Ella’s Handwashing Adventure tablet app. With this app you can encourage your child to wash their hands properly and gain good habits whilst having fun at the same time. The app is free to download and aims to teach children between 2 – 6 years old why, how and when they should wash their hands. You can find out more on Tork’s website.
Motherhood Diaries’ tips on how to practice good hand hygiene
The most important aspect of World Hand Hygiene Day is to open the conversation about good hand hygiene and break the silence.
Below are three infographics, along with my tips on how we practice good hand hygiene at home. Then, I want to open the floor to you and ask you to share in the comments below what your answers are to the questions in the infographics coming up.
When are your little ones most reluctant to clean their grubby fingers?
In our household, it is generally after the kids gone to the toilet that causes the most problems. They either forget or they pretend that they’ve washed their hands. So, the way we combat this is to exercise the TOILET THREES!
- Flush the toilet
- Put the seat down
- Wash your hands with soap for 20 seconds
If they miss one of the ‘Threes’, then they must go through the entire process again, i.e. flush the toilet, put the seat down (they would have to lift up the seat and then put it down again) and then they must wash their hands again. My boys are 5 and 6 years old and the last thing that they want to do is repeat these very boring steps. So, they learn quickly to wash their hands properly after the toilet.
What are your top tips for ensuring your children wash their hands correctly?
As it states in the infographic above, you must wash your hands for 20 seconds. So, we sing the alphabet! And it takes exactly 20 seconds to sing the alphabet! But, it’s not as simple as just singing the alphabet song, we must make sure that we are covering all areas of our hands while we’re singing. So, this is how we do it, using the handwashing steps taken from WHO:
The alphabet song
How do you ensure your children wash their hands properly? Please share your tips in the comments below.
How do you encourage your nearest and dearest to clean their hands?
This one is a little trickier because it’s simple to make it fun for kids to wash their hands while singing the alphabet or the happy birthday song, but the same method can’t really be practised on adults. So, how do we combat this?
They say a picture says 1,000 words, so rather than nagging everyone in the house to wash their hands, I strategically place the following laminated posters up where necessary, i.e. in the toilet or in the kitchen by the food. Here are some great images that I found (including the handwashing chart from WHO above), which work really well.
Here is a great poster for the workplace too:
So, how do you encourage your nearest and dearest to wash their hands? Please share your tips in the comments below
Together if we can break the silence and talk openly about how important the practice of good hygiene is then we can drastically reduce these startling global statistics related to poor hygiene every year.
Please share this post among your friends and family and encourage them to practice good hand hygiene on World Hand Hygiene Day. Please don’t forget to use the hashtag, #HygieneMatters and tag @M_Diaries via Twitter @Motherhood.Diaries via Facebook and @Motherhooddiaries via Instagram too!
* Taken from Joint Thinking to Join Action: A Call to Action on Improving Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene for Maternal and Newborn Health (PLOS Medicine, 2014)
Some images have been taken from www.sca.com
Featured image has been taken from www.usaid.gov
This post was sponsored by the SCA.
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