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Hand hygiene for all in corona times (Oct 15 is Global Handwashing Day)

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By Pavan Kaushik October 15 is Global Handwashing Day, a global advocacy day, dedicated to increasing awareness and understanding about the importance of handwashing with soap as an effective and affordable way to prevent diseases and save lives.
The Covid-19 pandemic provides a stark reminder that one of the most effective ways to stop the spread of a virus is also one of the simplest: hand hygiene, especially through handwashing with soap. To beat the virus today and ensure better health outcomes beyond the pandemic, handwashing with soap must be a priority now and in the future.
This year’s theme, Hand Hygiene for All, calls for all of society to achieve universal hand hygiene.
The link between handwashing and health was first established less than two centuries ago.
Ignaz Semmelweis, a Hungarian doctor working in Vienna General Hospital, is known as the father of hand hygiene. In 1846, he noticed that the women giving birth in the medical student/doctor-run maternity ward, in his hospital, were much more likely to develop a fever and die, compared to the women giving birth. He noticed that doctors and medical students often visited the maternity ward directly after performing an autopsy.
Taking cognizance of the seriousness, Semmelweis imposed a new rule mandating handwashing with chlorine for doctors. The rates of death in his maternity ward fell dramatically. This was the first proof that cleansing hands could prevent infection.


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