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What is all about Global Hand Washing Day (GHWD)?

Global Hand washing Day (GHWD) is a commemoration day, which aims to raise an awareness on the
importance of washing hands with clean running water and soap. Washing hands with clean running water and
soap is one of the most effective behaviours in reducing the spread of germs, such as the spread of antimicrobial
resistance (resistance bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites), including the COVID-19 virus.

When is GHWD commemorated?

GHWD is annually commemorated on 15 October. On this day all countries including South Africa partake
various activities. This day is dedicated to promoting handwashing practices, and to mobilise individuals,
households, schools, ECD centres and communities to play a major role in preventing infections by often
washing of hands with clean running water and soap.

What does the SA data tell us about the percentage of people who practice hand washing?

In South Africa, less than 43,6 per cent of household’s members usually wash their hands with soap and running
water after they had used the toilet. By comparison, 50,8 per cent indicated that household members merely
washed their hands, while 3,7 per cent said that household members did not wash their hands at all.

What are the benefits of washing hands with running water and soap?

 Studies indicate that handwashing practices can reduce diarrheal diseases by 30 per cent to 48 per cent
and acute respiratory infections by 20 per cent.
 Washing hands often reduces the transmission of diseases related to pathogens such as cholera, Ebola,
shigellosis, SARS and hepatitis, COVID-19 infection, and others.
 Soap is a defense mechanism against infections, and it reduces the spread of antimicrobial resistance
(resistance bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites).
 Hand washing using running water and soap further reduces the cross infection than using same water
in a bowl.

What are the critical times for washing hands?

Wash your hands regularly especially after using the toilet, changing the baby nappies, and handling waste,
and before preparing food, feeding others and eating.
National Department of Health Global Hand Washing Day 2022 Page 2 of 2

Key Messages on Handwashing Campaign for 2022

Wash your hands with soap and running water:
 after visiting the toilet
 use of alcohol-based hand sanitiser where water and soap are not readily available – preferably not after
visiting the toilet
 after touching rubbish
 after touching frequently touched surfaces, such as door handles
 before you eat

What can communities/households with no hand washing stations or access to running water can

They can develop their own tap called ‘Tippy Tap’ for running water to wash their hands. ‘Tippy Tap’ is a simple
and economical/low-costs hand-washing station, made with commonly available materials. The material can
used such as a re-usable empty 2/5 litter plastic container, a tube of an old pen and a string. The instructions
on how to make your own tippy tap is available on several websites, such as the Department of Health, UNICEF,
WHO and even in our in social media platforms.
In addition, you can have two Tippy taps, where one will have enough melted/liquid soap and water running,
and the second Tippy tap your can have clean running water to ring off the soap. This could assist where access
to soap could be a challenging