Some of us may take hand washing lightly, at times just rinsing without even applying soap. But did you know that Hand, Food and Mouth Disease (HFMD) can be prevented by practicing good hand hygiene like handwashing with antibacterial soap?
During the recent Lifebuoy’s Global Handwashing Day celebration, YB Dato’ Seri Dr. Hilmi Bin Haji Yahaya, the Deputy Minister of Health shared that from January till April this year 13,497 cases of HFMD were reported nationwide, with an average of 964 cases a week.
Handwashing is one of the most effective ways of staying healthy and preventing the spread of germs. The simple act of handwashing is essential to your well-being as germs are tough and their numbers double every 20 minutes! Handwashing is also able to reduce the risk of diarrhea by up to approximately 45%.
Lifebuoy is advocating hand washing behavior change particularly at five key daily occasions – at bath time, before breakfast, before lunch, before dinner and after visiting the toilet. Parents – especially mothers – play a key role in educating their families and teaching their children good hygiene habits from young. Below are the seven proper hand washing techniques for a healthier family.
But how often should we wash our hands?
- After coughing or blowing your nose
- Before making or eating food
- After playing with animals
- After using the toilet
- After playing outdoors
- Wash your hands whenever they look dirty
If you are in situation where there is no clean, running water and soap available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Alcohol-based hand sanitisers are able to quickly reduce the number of germs on your hands effectively.
It is also essential to know where the hot spots for germs are and to sanitiae and clean them frequently especially when you have infants or toddlers who tend to put things into their mouths.
This year, as part of the Global Handwashing Day initiative, celebrated annually on October 15, Lifebuoy is gathering pledges from mothers and families to increase awareness on the importance of handwashing to safeguard families from potential infections. To support this cause, just take a picture of you and your family pledging to practice good handwashing habits and post it up with the hashtag #LifebuoyGHD2015.
“This initiative brings to life our company’s philosophy of ‘Doing Well by Doing Good’. I am extremely proud of Lifebuoy’s involvement as a founding partner of Global Handwashing Day. As part of the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan (USLP), we aim to help 1 billion people by 2020 to improve their health and well-being. Lifebuoy is playing a key role in helping us achieve this mission by spreading awareness on the importance of handwashing and empowering mothers to lead behavioural change in their family,” said Rakesh Mohan, Unilever Chairman of Malaysia, Singapore, Myanmar, Cambodia & Laos.
Besides the Global Handwashing Day, Lifebuoy is partnering with the Ministry of Health for another ongoing behavioural change programme called “Program Doktor Muda Bersama Lifebuoy”. Launched in 2011, this programme involves one hundred selected primary schools nationwide, where students selected as the “Doktor Muda” will undergo special training on the basics of healthcare by completing exercises and learning modules set by the Ministry.
The Doktor Muda programme aims at empowering students to promote and influence good hygiene behaviour amongst their peers and family members. This programme has since reached out to over 250,000 children and Lifebuoy is targeting 100,000 more children in 2015. Lifebuoy will also be reaching out to some rural schools this year.
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Image Credit: Lifebuoy.