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October 2017

Global Handwashing Day 2017

Written by Nathalie Leblond
Cleanliness and Hygiene

15 October is Global Handwashing Day,a global advocacy day dedicated to increasing awareness around the importance of handwashing with soap as an effective and affordable way to prevent diseases and save lives.

If you’ve been following our blog over the last few months you’ll know by now that nothing gets us as excited as the topic of hygiene, and the topic of hand hygiene particularly.  We’re passionate about spreading the message that good hand hygiene can - quite literally - save lives, and it’s why we are such big supporters of Global Handwashing Day, a global advocacy day dedicated to increasing awareness around the importance of handwashing with soap as an effective and affordable way to prevent diseases and save lives.

The Global Handwashing Day awareness campaign was instituted by the World Health Organisation to curtail the spread of common germs and viral infections in 70 developing countries, including South Africa.  It is celebrated annually on the 15th October, and every year millions of people in countries around the world - South Africa included – are reminded that soap is still the number one weapon in the fight against transmissible diseases such as diarrhea and lower respiratory-tract infections.  No matter what the disease, its spread can be halted if people –especially young children - cultivate the habit of regular hand washing.  Washing your hands with soap and water is the world’s cheapest, yet most effective do-it-yourself vaccine against common illnesses such as flu and diarrhea.

Rentokil Initial is a proud supporter of Global Handwashing Day, and every year we encourage our colleagues around the country to go into their communities and spread the hand hygiene message.  This year we are combining our Global Handwashing Day celebrations with another special event. Rentokil Initial was incorporated in December 1967 in South Africa, which means that we are celebrating our 50th birthday this year.  And to mark this special event, we have set ourselves the target of washing 50 000 hands around the country this Global Handwashing Day.

As the experts in hygiene, we know how important it is for the hand hygiene message to be adopted at an early age. Rentokil Initial colleagues across the country visited schools in their local communities on Friday the 13th October to spread the handwashing message to children between the ages of 5 and 10.  

We did this to teach children not only how important it is to wash their hands regularly, but also how to wash them properly;  between 20 and 30 seconds is the recommended time for thorough hand washing  (we tell them this is the time it takes to sing “Happy Birthday “twice).  We’ll also remind them to make sure that they wash those often forgotten areas such as the tops of their hands and their thumbs, and we’ll cover the most important times to wash your hands, such as before eating and after visiting the bathroom.

Download our school hand hygiene toolkit to help spread the word on why hand hygiene matters.

These are some of the tips we gave to school children in our Global Handwashing Day hygiene talks on the 13th October this year, because if we can make hand washing a habit at an early age, we’ll all be a lot healthier. 

Did you take part in any handwashing initiatives? We’d love to see your handy work!

Share your hand hygiene photos and tag us on social media.

Washing your hands isn’t difficult.  It is about employing the right technique to ensure you do it right. It’s so easy we asked Our Future; 4 year old children from Opti-Baby & Kids Fourways to demonstrate how easy it is to wash your hands correctly.

Download the School hygiene kit and start teaching your kids how to wash their hands with 9 easy steps.

Download your school hygiene kit

Want to inspire your staff to be more hygienic in the office? Download our hand hygiene posters.
Download your hand hygiene posters

Nathalie Leblond

Nathalie Leblond

Nathalie is the Category Manager at Rentokil Initial, and has worked in the hygiene and pest control industry for 12 years. Although after 12 years cockroaches still have the power to terrify her, she has learnt countless ways to defeat germs both in the workplace and at home. She is a passionate advocate for Global Handwash Day and the health benefits that can be derived from regular handwashing and hygiene practices. When not contributing to the Initial blog, Nathalie is writing press releases for sister businesses, Rentokil and Ambius. You can find her on LinkedIn.

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