Thursday, October 14, 2010

Global Handwashing Day

Only 13 or so hours (depending on your time zone) to the third annual Global Handwashing Day,which occurs October 15, 2010. This should not be confused with World Hand Hygiene Day, which occurred May 5, 2010 or even World MRSA Day or for those of you really in the know, "MDR-Acinetobacter Day," which occurred on Oct.4.2010.  All kidding aside, tomorrow is an important day to recognize the lack of access to basic soap and water that many children in the developing world need to prevent illness and death.  This day is for the children.

The graph below, from a 2005 Lancet paper by Luby et al., highlights why tomorrow is so important.  In Karachi Pakistan's squatter settlements, investigators randomized 300 households to plain soap/water, 300 to antibacterial soap and 306 to usual practice.  Both groups randomized to soap (antibacterial soap didn't matter) had 50% less pneumonia, 53% less diarrhea and 34% less impetigo compared to the control group. This day tomorrow is about making sure each child is on the green (or red) line and not suffering on the blue line.

Luby et al, Lancet 2005 doi link

1 comment:

  1. Great post, Eli. For those interested in the Luby study, we blogged last year about the follow up study, where they went back to Karachi a couple years after the intervention. They demonstrated yet again what we've all come to learn: sustaining good hand hygiene requires continuous attention. Perhaps our biggest challenge in infection prevention is to repeatedly reinvent our hand hygiene campaigns to keep adherence high.