Saturday, August 20, 2016

Personal Hygiene - Part 1; Hand Hygiene

Hand Hygiene, Infographic, CDC
Source: CDC


Hygiene refers to conditions and practices that help to maintain health and prevent the spread of diseases. Medical hygiene therefore includes a specific set of practices associated with this preservation of health, for example environmental cleaning, sterilization of equipment, hand hygiene, water and sanitation and safe disposal of medical waste. 

Hygiene refers to behaviors that can improve cleanliness and lead to good health, such as frequent hand washingface washing, and bathing with soap and water. In many areas of the world, practicing personal hygiene etiquette is difficult due to lack of clean water and soap. Many diseases can be spread if the hands, face, or body are not washed appropriately at key times.

  • It is estimated that washing hands with soap and water could reduce diarrheal disease-associated deaths by up to 50%.
  • A large percentage of foodborne disease outbreaks are spread by contaminated hands. Appropriate hand washing practices can reduce the risk of foodborne illness and other infections.

Water supply, sanitation and hygiene development 

Safe and sufficient drinking-water, along with adequate sanitation and hygiene have implications across all Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) – from eradicating poverty and hunger, reducing child mortality, improving maternal health, combating infectious diseases, to ensuring environmental sustainability. Much progress has been achieved over the past decade:
  • 2.3 billion people gained access to improved drinking-water between 1990–2012.
  • The number of children dying from diarrhoeal diseases, which are strongly associated with poor water, inadequate sanitation and hygiene, have steadily fallen over the two last decades from approximately 1.5million deaths in 1990 to just above 600 000 in 2012.
As the world turns its attention to the formulation of the post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) much remains to be done particularly to reduce inequalities across populations:
  • 2.5 billion people lack access to improved sanitation.
  • 1 billion people practice open defecation, nine out of ten in rural areas.
  • 748 million people lack access to improved drinking-water and it is estimated that 1.8 billion people use a source of drinking-water that is faecally contaminated.
  • Hundreds of millions of people have no access to soap and water to wash their hands, preventing a basic act that would empower them to block the spread of disease.
Access to safe drinking-water and basic sanitation is essential to human health and survival. But for many people living in low-resource settings, these vital services remain out of reach.

Environmental sanitation and hygiene development

About 2.4 billion people globally live under highly unsanitary conditions and have such poor hygiene behaviours that their exposure to risks of incidence and spread of infectious diseases, are enormous. Water stored at home is frequently contaminated by inadequate water management in the home. These issues are receiving increasing attention, but considering the huge backlog within the sector there is still a need for greater mobilization of resources and involvement of decision-makers at all levels.

Sanitation and hygiene promotion: a programming guide 

This document is about setting in place a process whereby people (women, children and men) effect and sustain a hygienic and healthy environment for themselves. It talks about developing a programme for more effective investment in sanitation and hygiene promotion.

 Source: WHO

Hand Hygiene

Handwashing is one of the best ways to protect yourself and your family from getting sick.

Handwashing is easy to do and it's one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of many types of infection and illness in all settings—from your home and workplace to child care facilities and hospitals. Clean hands can stop germs from spreading from one person to another and throughout an entire community .

Handwashing is like a "do-it-yourself" vaccine—it involves five simple and effective steps (Wet, Lather, Scrub, Rinse, Dry) you can take to reduce the spread of diarrheal and respiratory illness so you can stay healthy. 

Regular handwashing, particularly before and after certain activities, is one of the best ways to remove germs, avoid getting sick, and prevent the spread of germs to others. It's quick, it's simple, and it can keep us all from getting sick. Handwashing is a win for everyone, except the germs.
Many diseases and conditions are spread by not washing hands with soap and clean, running water. However, if soap and clean water are not accessible, as is common in many parts of the world, use soap and available water or an alcohol-based product containing at least 60% alcohol to clean hands. Appropriate hand hygiene practices include not only washing hands but also keeping fingernails trimmed and clean.

Hand Hygiene, Photo, UNDP, UNICEF India
Source: UNDP - Photo: UNICEF India

Times to wash your hands are


1.  making food 
1.  eating  
1.  touching a sick person  
1.  touching a cut, sore, or wound.


1.  using the bathroom 
1.  blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing  
1.  touching things that may carry germs, like; 
o    food that is not cooked (raw food) 
o    animals or animal waste 
o    trash  
o    things touched by flood water 
o    a sick person  
o    cuts, sores, and wounds.

Global Handwashing Day, Infographic, CDC
Source: CDC

Global Handwashing Day

Global Handwashing Day is an annual global advocacy day dedicated to increasing awareness and understanding about the importance of handwashing with soap as an easy, effective, and affordable way to prevent diseases and save lives.

Global Handwashing Day is an annual observance founded by the Global Public-Private Partnership for Handwashing with Soap. This observance was created to raise awareness about the benefits of handwashing with soap and shine a spotlight on the state of handwashing around the world. 

Teaching people about handwashing helps them and their communities stay healthy. Handwashing education in the community can:
  • Reduce the number of people who get sick with diarrhea by about 30% 
  • Reduce diarrheal illness in people with HIV by about 50% 
  • Reduce respiratory illnesses, like colds, in the general population by about 20% 
The first Global Handwashing Day was held in 2008, when over 120 million children around the world washed their hands with soap in more than 70 countries. Since 2008, community and national leaders have used Global Handwashing Day to spread the word about handwashing, build sinks and tippy taps, and demonstrate the simplicity and value of clean hands.  Each year, over 200 million people are involved in celebrations in over 100 countries around the world. Global Handwashing Day is endorsed by a wide array of governments, international institutions, civil society organizations, NGOs, private companies, and individuals.

The 2016 Global Handwashing Day theme is “Make Handwashing a Habit!” For handwashing to be effective it must be practiced consistently at key times, such as after using the toilet or before contact with food. While habits must be developed over time, this theme emphasizes the importance of handwashing as a ritual behavior for long-term sustainability. Habit formation is currently a hot topic in behavior change and the water, sanitation, and hygiene sector. This theme taps into that interest and is also a gateway to discussing what the sector  knows about how habits are formed.



  1. handwashing and clean water consumption, both are equally important to have good immune system and good health.very nice and informative article. thanks for sharing.
    <a href=">alkaline mineral water</a>

  2. This is truly a decent and enlightening, containing all data furthermore greatly affects the new innovation. A debt of gratitude is in order for sharing it.Toilet Sanitizer Facts: Debunking Myths

  3. I ‘d mention that most of us visitors are endowed to exist in a fabulous place with very many wonderful individuals with very helpful things.
    fire and safety course in chennai

  4. It is really a great work and the way in which you are sharing the knowledge is excellent. Thanks for your informative article
    safety course in chennai