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Global Handwashing Day


The first ever Global Handwashing Day took place on 15th October 2008. 73 countries around the world, were involved in the activities. The focus on the day was on children, as they suffer the most from diseases spread by poor hygiene. The day was instigated by the Public Private Partnership for Handwashing with Soap, and many different organisations worldwide gave their support. The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine is the convening institution for the UK, which meant that we coordinate the UK activities.

Global Handwashing Day 2009

Global Handwashing Day will be on 15th October again this year, and it was decided that even more emphasis would be put on children.

If you want to be involved in the day, or would like advice in planning your own activities, then contact

For more information about the day Globally, go to, where you can also download the official Planner’s Guide for advice about planning your own Global Handwashing Day activities.

To see what is happening for Global Handwashing Day in the UK this year, go to

UK activities from 2008:

Poster by winner Chloe Izzard, age 8Dirty Hands Study. We swabbed commuters’ hands outside bus stations in five major UK cities. The results were shocking: a quarter of commuters sampled had faecal bacteria on their hands; more men had contaminated hands the further north we sampled, more bus users showed contamination compared to train users.

The results attracted a lot of media attention, and the story was the most read story on the BBC website for over 24 hours. The results from the study will soon appear in the Journal of Epidemiology and Infection in a paper by Gaby Judah, Peter Donachie, Emma Cobb, Wolf-Peter Schmidt, Mark Holland and Val Curtis.

  • Suds! Poster competition attracted entrants from schools around the country. The winner from each age group won a trip to India, to visit Lifebuoy hygiene promotion sites.
  • Government involvement. There was an Early Day Motion on handwashing and MPs washed their hands in the Houses of Parliament.
  • Local Handwashing Campaign Launch in schools in Hackney, organised by the Max Guide to Hand Hygiene and the Health Protection Agency.
  • Blue Peter did a segment about handwashing.
  • In-house activities in companies such as Unilever and GlaxoSmithKline marked the day for their employees with talks, demonstrations and pictures.

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