Oct 15: Global Handwashing Day

Today is the day. Yes, Happy Handwashing Day to all of you! In my previous post, I’ve briefly explained what Global Handwashing Day is all about.

Just to recap, each year on October 15, Global Handwashing Day is celebrated in over 100 countries around the world to foster and support a global culture of handwashing with soap, and to raise awareness about the benefits of handwashing.

Okay, before I proceed further, please allow me to wash my hands first. 🙂

… 5 mins later, with two clean and germ-free hands, I start writing again …

Global-Handwashing-DayEvery year, more than 2 million children don’t live to see their 5th birthday due to diseases like Diarrhea and Pneumonia. Many of these deaths can be prevented through the simple habit of regular handwashing with soap.

Reading this statement really strikes a chord in me, because our boy just celebrated his 5th birthday last month. We’re fortunate to live in a country that is clean and safe, as a matter of fact; celebrating 5th birthday is what every ordinary child does in Singapore.

But we may not realize that reaching the age of five is a significant milestone for millions of less-fortunate children living in the other part of the world, in households without access to improved sanitization, and at grave risk to their survival and development.

Poor hygiene and lack of access to sanitization contribute to more than 80% of deaths from diarrheal diseases, and accounting for 2 million diarrhea-related under-five deaths each year. This is an alarming figure; therefore, the key message of this year’s Global Handwashing Day is “Help A Child Reach 5”.

Hari - GHD

For the 5th year running, Unilever, through its Lifebuoy brand, will work with the Millennium Villages Initiative to bring hygiene education to children across ten countries in Africa. The objective of this campaign is to help save young children from potentially fatal diseases caused by poor hand hygiene.

In fact, Lifebuoy has been actively helping children to reach the age of five through its school programs and its celebration of Global Handwashing Day (GHD) since 2008. The good news is, with the support from Unilever and Global Comms this year, it will further amplify and intensify the program in a way than one brand alone cannot accomplish.

Hence, from this year onwards, Lifebuoy takes on another ambitious challenge to ensure that these kids will win the fight against diarrhea and will be able to celebrate their 5th birthday.

If you’re wondering how we can contribute to this very meaningful campaign, I’m going to elaborate further now. No, you don’t need to fly to Africa for sure. We can help to save lives through a very simple act of pledging on Lifebuoy’s Facebook page HERE.

Lifebuoy Facebook Page

With every pledge received, Unilever will commit to teach a child on hygiene education through PSI, a Unilever Foundation Partner. Now, we can all pledge to help a child reach FIVE through handwashing with soap!

Simple, isn’t it? I just pledged on Lifebuoy’s Facebook Page and all I need to do is just a CLICK! You can do it too, come on! Please spare a minute today to support this meaningful campaign. Thank you!

As the world is celebrating the Global Handwashing Day today, let us also advocate and educate our children on the importance of handwashing. It is one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of germs and illnesses, and Lifebuoy handwash kills 99.9% of germs in just ten seconds!


There are four product variants to choose from – Total Protect, Nature Pure, Mild Care and Activfresh Handwash (200ml). Total Protect is our family’s favourite among the four variants.

In summary, keeping our hands clean is our first weapon in fighting the spread of germs and therefore keeping ourselves illness free. Lifebuoy antibacterial handwash protects the health of those we care for, all day long.

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Happy Handwashing Day!


Do you know that each year on October 15, Global Handwashing Day is celebrated in over 100 countries around the world, and involving over 200 million people? Before writing this post, I had no idea that handwashing was celebrated in such a global scale, much less that a day was devoted to handwashing.

The objectives of Global Handwashing Day are to foster and support a global culture of handwashing with soap, shine a spotlight on the state of handwashing in every country, and to raise awareness about the benefits of handwashing with soap.

Now, knowing a little bit on the history of handwashing can be quite interesting too. Just three short paragraphs, I promise you. Please read on.

Before scientists knew about germs, handwashing has not always been believed to reduce the transmission of disease. Up until the late 1800’s, surgeons didn’t scrub or wash their hands before surgery. Very often, they would move from dissecting a corpse through to examining new mothers without washing their hands. This led to a high mortality rate in maternity wards.

In the 1840’s, a physician named Ignaz Semmelweis realised the link between handwashing and the spread of infection between patients. Through insisting his staffs to wash their hands with various antiseptics, Dr Semmelweis has greatly reduced the deaths in his wards.

After Dr Semmelweis passed away, the germ theory was confirmed by Louis Pasteur and handwashing became a more accepted practice among doctors back then. Fast-forward to today, handwashing is a part of our everyday life, and it becomes a practice to wash our hands before eating, after toileting and sneezing or coughing.

From an article that I read recently, I also realized that diarrhea is the second largest cause of child mortality, and at least 3,000 kids under the age of 5 die each day succumbing to diarrhea. It’s an alarming figure, but we may not feel the impact here because 80% of these deaths occur in South Asia & Africa, which are also the primary regions for Global Handwashing Day activities.

As a mother, I admit that diarrhea is one of my biggest fears. We had a really bad experience three years ago, and since then, we’ve become even more careful in preventing the spread of germs by washing our hands scrupulously with antibacterial soap.

Little Edison was just two years old when he caught the nastiest diarrhea in his life that lasted for almost two weeks. This was the time when our patience was truly being tested with many sleepless nights, countless messes and endless worries.

The poor boy has to be cleaned and changed frequently throughout the day and night. Diarrhea came with vomiting, making it twice as hard to handle. We were devastated to hear that there was no medication to stop diarrhea in young children, except by taking oral rehydration fluid to replace lost fluids and electrolytes to prevent dehydration.

Looking back, this was a hard experience that we’ve learnt. One key point that I want to emphasize today is – handwashing is one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of germs and illnesses. Lifebuoy handwash kills 99.9% of germs in just 10 seconds.

Lifebuoy Handwash

We all know that children are notorious for passing germs back and forth as they touch and share while playing. And since their immune systems are not fully-developed, it’s easy for a runny nose in one child to magnify into a full-fledged cold in another.

As a parent, we can stop the spread of germs and keep our children healthy by teaching them how to wash their hands effectively with antibacterial soap. It’s something quick and easy that I’ve been teaching Little Edison since young, and hopefully it will become a healthy habit that he will carry over to his adulthood.

If you don’t know how to wash your hands, oh no, what I mean is – if you need some tips on how to teach your children to wash their hands properly, please read HERE.

Wash HandThe Hubby always says that there is a chip implanted in my system that will beep every couple of hours or whenever needed, that says “Remember to wash your hands with soap!”

I reckon our boy has already got used to the constant handwashing reminders from this nagging mom, but he still does it whenever requested.

To help him on this, I’ve dedicated the sink in our maid’s toilet that is lower and easy for him to reach specifically for handwashing and we don’t use that sink for other chores. An antibacterial soap and hand towel are also in place for his use.

In summary, as the world is going to celebrate the Global Handwashing Day soon, let us re-emphasize the importance of handwashing to our children. You’re also welcomed to join Lifebuoy’s Global Handwashing Day Facebook tab HERE.