Keeping hands clean is one of the most important steps one can take to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others. Many diseases and conditions are spread by not washing hands with soap and clean, running water.
In fact, every year an estimated four million newborns die in the first month of their lives. Of these deaths, 86% are due to a combination of infections, prematurity and complications during labor. Simple, low-cost health interventions could reduce this figure by up to 70%. One such intervention is handwashing with soap.
A recent community study in Nepal concluded that handwashing with soap can reduce newborn deaths by up to 44%. For countries where newborn mortality is high, adopting handwashing with soap as a standard practice before delivery and while handling newborns is not only important, but it saves lives. But how do you motivate individuals to adopt handwashing with soap as an ingrained habit? Programs that encourage the adoption of habits and ensure community-wide consensus can enable individuals to practice good hygiene at scale and over time.
MCHIP is working to raise the profile of handwashing for newborn survival by helping new mothers and health workers adopt and practice handwashing with soap as an ingrained habit. On this Global Handwashing Day and beyond, MCHIP remains committed to doing all that is possible to save the lives of mothers and newborns—and handwashing with soap is one simple, effective and low-cost solution.
Learn more about how MCHIP celebrated Global Handwashing Day on October 15 in Indonesia and check out photos from the event by clicking here