CLEAN HANDS promote good health! CLEAN HANDS prevent infections! CLEAN HANDS save lives. Since 2008, Safeguard Philippines has been celebrating Global Handwashing Day alongside various institutions and communities. This 2019, Safeguard Philippines partnered with Manila Water Foundation and the Philippine General Hospital to once more promote greater awareness and vigilance on the benefits of CLEAN HANDS, especially in schools and hospitals.
Global Handwashing Day (GHD) is celebrated every October 15 by more than 200 million people in 100 countries. Each year, GHD aims to promote a global culture of clean hands through handwashing with soap and water. Keeping hands clean is one of the most important things anyone can and everyone should do to stay healthy. Studies have shown that hand washing can prevent 1 in 3 diarrhea-related illnesses and 1 in 5 respiratory infections, such as a cold or the flu. During this period when our country is affected by various infectious diseases, it is now even more urgent to remind all of us of the importance of keeping our hands clean by washing our hands. Handwashing with soap is an effective way to prevent many infectious diseases and saves lives.
The GHD theme this year “CLEAN HANDS FOR ALL” means we must find a way that all people from all walks of life, in both urban and rural areas, whether in public or private places, in all homes, schools, workplaces, have access to basic hand washing facilities with soap and water. Most of the time handwashing is easy and affordable but sometimes some places can have challenges which limit access to the usual handwashing facilities.
Raising awareness one school at a time
Learning how to correctly wash our hands is a fundamental skill our children must learn. Getting into the clean hands habit by frequent hand washing, especially before eating and after using the toilet is valuable to good health and favorable personal development. Schools and school teachers are among the most important partners of Safeguard Philippines through the years of GHD. Many schools, however, do not have sufficient handwashing facilities.
Months leading to this significant celebration of proper hygiene, Safeguard partnered with Manila Water Foundation in the construction of 5-faucet handwashing facilities and the provision of hygiene kits in more than 30 public schools in key cities nationwide, to benefit more than 100,000 public school students and teachers.
In the spirit of CLEAN HANDS FOR ALL, last October 14, more than 100 Grade 4 students in Antipolo took part in a handwashing session to coincide with the inauguration of hygiene facilities which were built in 20 Antipolo schools with the support from Safeguard and Manila Water Foundation. Two thousand hygiene kits containing a towel and Safeguard hand soap were also distributed to the children at the celebration, which also highlights their Lingap Eskwela-Linis Lusog Kabataan collaboration. Antipolo City Mayor Andrea “Andeng” Bautista-Ynares graced the event and shared the importance of private sector partnerships to keep kids in schools! This message was echoed by the DepED Public Schools Division Superintendent Region IV-A.
For this year’s observance of Global Handwashing Day, Safeguard has also partnered with the Philippine General Hospital (PGH) to promote greater awareness of the benefits of handwashing, particularly in a major hospital.
Large hospitals such as the Philippine General Hospital are strategic partners in the CLEAN HANDS Campaign. PGH is considered the biggest modern government tertiary hospital in the Philippines, servicing more than 600,000 patients annually. In any ordinary day, the PGH has over 2,000 patients either in any of its 19 clinical departments admitted in their wards or being seen in any one of its out-patient clinics. CLEAN HANDS in PGH advocates use of alcohol and handwashing and part of Patient Safety.
At the signal of 10am of October 15, the entire PGH community joined the Simultaneous Hand Hygiene Event and performed hand hygiene whether they were in the clinical areas, wards, clinics, operating rooms or in classrooms or conferences. Through this event, each and every healthcare worker reaffirmed his or her commitment to Clean Hands. All PGH department chairs, chief nurses, and administrative staff of the hospital signed their commitment to include Hand Hygiene in training and service activities. Advocacy for Clean Hands is expanded to the university community as well. Hand Hygiene posters created by the medical students were featured. Nurses and doctors also taught hundreds of parents, family members and bantays of PGH patients to understand the importance of handwashing in their own families. Hopefully this activity cascades the benefits of Clean Hands campaign to their homes and communities.
“Handwashing is one of the most important hygienic practices that children and health workers have to take to heart. This is why Safeguard proactively promotes the practice of washing hands with soap. Through the Global Handwashing Day celebration, we hope to raise even more awareness on its health benefits,” said Clarence Lim-Ignacio, Safeguard Brand Manager.
Together, let us renew our commitment to practice handwashing and help stop the spread of illnesses that can be caused by germs. Whoever you are, whatever you do, practice frequent handwashing. Observe CLEAN HANDS not only during the Global Handwashing Day and every day from this day onward. And let us all work towards Clean Hands for ALL, this means no one is left behind in these efforts.