October 15th 2016 marks Global Handwashing Day, a global campaign to encourage the practise of handwashing to prevent the spread of infections and improve global hygiene and health.
An estimated 15% of patients globally develop one or more infections in hospitals. These infections are preventable through simple measures like handwashing. However according to WHO and UNICEF, only 65% of health facilities have access to hand hygiene facilities with soap and water.
A clear marker of this issue is the estimated 830 women who die every day from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth, with infection one of the main causes of death. A birth environment which includes access to clean water and soap is crucial to preventing infections. Not only is access to hand hygiene facilities important, but also educating people to use these facilities consistently at key times. Soapbox is supporting Global Handwashing Day to advocate for access to water and soap for all and promote behaviour change to improve handwashing in order to prevent infections around the time of birth for all mothers and newborns.