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Global Handwashing Day 2010: Making clean hands a priority for more than just a day


Handwashing with soap could save lives of millions

Maputo, 15 October 2010 – For the third annual Global Handwashing Day (GHD), more than 200 million schoolchildren, parents, teachers, celebrities and government officials around the world will come together to promote and celebrate the importance of proper handwashing behaviour.

This year the theme of Global Handwashing Day – more than just a day – aims to make the simple, life-saving practice of washing hands a regular habit long after the sun sets on October 15. Global Handwashing Day partners are promoting this behavioural change not only by organizing activities in more than 80 countries to raise awareness of the benefits of handwashing, but by ensuring that schools and communities have the support they need to make the practice routine.

Each year, diarrhoeal diseases and acute respiratory infections are responsible for the deaths of more than 3.5 million children under the age of five. Washing hands with soap and water especially at the critical times – after using the toilet and before handling food – helps reduce the incidence of diarrhoeal disease by more than 40 per cent, yet this simple behaviour is not practiced regularly.

© UNICEF/E.Machiana

Global Handwashing Day shines a spotlight on the importance of handwashing with soap and water as one of the most effective and affordable health interventions. Today that message is being brought to playgrounds, classrooms, community centres, public spaces and the air waves all around Mozambique. Some of the activities planned for the event in the country include:

  • Drawing and Poetry Competitions in schools
  • Demonstrations of proper handwashing using soap or ash
  • Installation of systems for handwashing using local material
  • Theatre and musical performances about proper handwashing
  • Dissemination of messages on radio and TV about handwashing
  • Screening of films about the proper way of hand washing through mobile units.                           

More than 35,000 children and their teachers will be actively participating in the celebration of GHD in Mozambique. Partners involved in the celebration of GHD include various government institutions, international co-operation agencies, NGOs, CBOs, schools, community centres and local leaders.

For more information, please contact:

Gabriel Pereira, Communication Officer, UNICEF, 82-316 5390;

Also visit

Attention broadcasters: Handwashing b-roll and PSAs are available at

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