Healthy Child celebrity guest editor and NHS Doctor, Dr. Ranj Singh, spoke to more than 110,000 children on the importance of good hand hygiene as part of Global Handwashing Day on Thursday 15th October.
Soap brand Lifebuoy has launched a Schools Programme with over 4,800 schools signed up to get involved, with more than one million children receiving hand hygiene education in the first month.
This year is the first time that Global Handwashing Day was being marked in the UK, by teaching children the importance of handwashing throughout their day to keep them, and others, safe.
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Research from 2,000 UK adults revealed that 60 percent of parents want to see more hand hygiene education in schools, and Lifebuoy has been educating primary school children on the benefits of handwashing as well as distributing free hand hygiene kits to schools.
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The Schools Programme includes learning materials, videos, songs and science experiments for teachers to use to help teach children about why good hand hygiene matters, when are the key moments to wash or sanitise hands and how to do it thoroughly. The program was developed with expert input from teachers and the British Psychological Society and is endorsed by the Royal Society of Public Health and Global Handwashing Partnership.
On Global Handwashing Day, Lifebuoy teamed up with NHS Doctor, Dr Ranj Singh, to deliver the nationwide assembly to 426 schools and over 110,000 children across the UK. Dr Ranj taught children the role handwashing plays in preventing the spread of viruses such as colds, flu and COVID-19.
To demonstrate the need for good hand hygiene from a young age, Lifebuoy has also created a life-size ‘flatlay’ that draws attention to the things that children will inevitably come into contact with in a typical day. The image was designed by following three children as they go about their normal life with the footage capturing all the items they touched in a 24-hour period. The three children touched 186 individual items on average each day including swings and slides, the buttons on the bus and at pedestrian crossings, the family hamster, a school computer, a newsagent’s door, as well as many, many toilet trips and a number of meals and snacks.
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On Global Handwashing Day, Lifebuoy announced the creation of a Hand Hygiene Coalition, a collective of organisations with a mutual goal of enabling a generation of children in the UK to understand not only how to wash their hands, but importantly when to wash their hands.
Organisations involved in the coalition include members of The British Psychological Society, The Global Handwashing Partnership, Royal Society for Public Health, Parent Kind and others.
The coalition will develop educational material that will be piloted in a one hour, per class, per term lesson across selected primary schools in the UK from November, eventually reaching up to 2,000 primary schools by the end of March 2021.
Medical expert and NHS Doctor, Dr Ranj Singh explains why it’s so important we act now: “Handwashing has become increasingly important over the last few months as it’s been shown to be one of the most effective ways of preventing the spread of coronavirus as well as seasonal colds and flu so I am not surprised parents are calling for more hand hygiene education.
Forming good habits when young is critical in helping to reduce the spread of infection, particularly as Lifebuoy has shown, children typically touch hundreds of items every day.
This is why I’m hosting a nationwide assembly with Lifebuoy to inspire primary school children to take hygiene into their own hands.”
Global Handwashing Day is an annual global advocacy day dedicated to advocacting for handwashing with soap as an easy, effective, and affordable way to prevent diseases and save lives.
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Global Handwashing Day was founded by the Global Handwashing Partnership, and is an opportunity to design, test, and replicate creative ways to encourage people to wash their hands with soap at critical times. Global Handwashing Day is celebrated every year on October 15th.
The first Global Handwashing Day was held in 2008, when over 120 million children around the world washed their hands with soap in more than 70 countries. Since 2008, community and national leaders have used Global Handwashing Day to spread the word about handwashing, build sinks and tippy taps, and demonstrate the simplicity and value of clean hands. Since then, Global Handwashing Day has continued to grow.
Global Handwashing Day is endorsed by governments, schools, international institutions, civil society organizations, NGOs, private companies, individuals, and more.
Find out more here about how Healthy Child celebrity guest editor and NHS Doctor, Dr. Ranj Singh, spoke to more than 110,000 children on the importance of good hand hygiene as part of Global Handwashing Day, Thursday 15th October.