Each year on October 15th, over 200 million people in over 100 countries take part in celebrations to mark Global Handwashing Day. Once again, Deb is heavily involved in this day of advocacy, which promotes handwashing with soap as an easy, effective, and affordable way to prevent diseases and save lives.
First held in 2008, Global Handwashing Day is designed to support a global and local handwashing culture, shine a spotlight on the state of handwashing around the world, and raise awareness about the benefits of the practice. The day is endorsed by a wide array of governments, international institutions, civil society organisations, NGOs, private companies, and individuals.
This year’s theme – ‘Make Handwashing a Habit!’ – highlights the importance of handwashing as a ritual behaviour. To be effective, hand hygiene needs to occur regularly at key times, such as after using the toilet or before contact with food.
Deb is encouraging primary schools in the UK to inspire their students to become ‘Hand Washing Champions’, with activities and lessons aimed at making the hand washing procedure at school fun, engaging, and memorable.
Throughout September, Deb there will be running a national ‘Hand Puppet Competition’. Students will be encouraged to design their own ‘Hand Washing Champions’ and enter their creations into a competition. The winning student design will be announced on October 31st and will receive a £100 book voucher. Furthermore the winning hand puppet design will be reproduced on a bespoke dispenser, which Deb will supply to the school free of charge across all their washrooms.
Deb is also encouraging schools to run a hand washing community day. On October 13th, Deb is organising a ‘Community Day’ with a local school – St. John’s Primary School in Belper, Derbyshire – where children can learn first-hand about the importance of hand hygiene from a Deb representative.
“Global Handwashing Day is a fantastic opportunity for people around the world to come together in celebration and support of better hand hygiene,” said Paul Jakeway, Marketing Director at Deb.
“We are thrilled to be working with schools in the UK, and support their efforts to make handwashing a daily routine for their students. Encouraging children from an early age and getting them into the habit of washing their hands as part of their school day will help ensure that this practise becomes part of their lifelong routine.”
Effective hand hygiene is universally recognised as the smartest means of infection control in educational environments. Yet, a survey by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine unearthed that only 63.8% of primary school pupils regularly washed their hands with soap at school, a figure which dropped to 39% for secondary school pupils.
Lack of education about handwashing with soap could be contributing to the spread of diseases in schools. Inadequate hand washing could also impact absenteeism, with illness constituting almost 60% of all absences across schools in England. Annually, nearly 22 million school days are lost each year due to the common cold.
Deb is working towards catalysing habit formation and behaviour change in schools with a range of brightly coloured and attractive soap dispensers, which are designed to help engage children in the hand washing process. Dispensing systems are more hygienic, economical and environmentally-friendly than bar soap or bulk fill systems, and easy to operate for children.
In addition to dispensers and a comprehensive range of skin care products, Deb also provides schools with a range of training and educational materials to ensure hand hygiene compliance is adhered to in educational institutions around the country.
Tel: +44 (0) 1773 855100