“Adopt the practice of washing hands with soap in your lifestyle on this day and inspire others to do the same,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi wrote in a message to all citizens on Global Handwashing Day that is globally observed on October 15th. He emphasised the importance of handwashing, particularly during the coronavirus pandemic.
Meanwhile, districts across the country have developed various IEC materials, in addition to those provided by the Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation (DDWS) to be used widely during the COVID-19-appropriate behaviour campaign, launched by DDWS and being implemented from October to December 2020.
The campaign is intended to curb the spread of COVID-19 infection during the forthcoming festive season, enabling people to protect themselves and others from the virus.
As per accounts from villages, many activities have been held at the grassroots level while maintaining physical distancing and using face masks.
In Tamil Nadu, all the 11,607 Swachhagrahis have been assigned to conduct activities to raise awareness on handwashing through the official ODF-S Thooimai Mobile App.
Punjab has developed many creatives – one of which depicts a mother advising her child to wash hands with soap whenever he steps into the house after playing with his friends; another sticker showing the various steps to effective handwashing. Other village level activities were awareness talks on importance of handwashing; demonstration on handwashing techniques; door to door interactions; Group discussions; announcements through PA systems installed in Gurudwaras; and distribution of soaps and sanitation kits.
In the runup to the Global Handwashing Day, Tripura sent teams into the various Gram Panchayats to distribute masks and leaflets, promoting COVID-appropriate behaviour.
Mizoram too has widely implemented the campaign with the tagline – ‘hand-hygiene for all.’
Global Hand Washing Day was celebrated in Chinna Mulkanur of Chigurumamidi Mandal in Karimnagar District of Telangana. SBM Teams explained to the communities the importance of handwashing with soap and demonstrated methods of handwashing.
In Uttar Pradesh, the Chief Minister inaugurated Global Handwashing Day with a message. Handwashing demonstrations were held at other places too.
In Long Island Gram Panchayat of Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Global Handwashing Day was kickstarted with handwashing demonstrations.
Global Handwashing day was celebrated in all village Panchayats of Goa and in all districts of Jharkhand.
Handwashing with soap helps prevent the spread of COVID-19 and is the 1st line of defence against this serious threat to lives and health systems. It is recommended that hands should be washing for at least 20 seconds, with soap frequently, and especially after defecation and before preparing or eating food.