Diarrhea and respiratory infections are responsible for the majority of all child deaths, taking the lives of millions of children in developing countries every year. Fortunately, one of the most cost-effective solutions is virtually at our fingertips: washing our hands with soap. This simple act can reduce the incidence of diarrhea and respiratory infections among children under 5 by almost 50 percent and 25 percent, respectively.
To promote this life-saving practice around the world, the Global Public–Private Partnership for Handwashing — which includes FHI 360, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and 10 other public and private organizations — launched Global Handwashing Day. The event has grown from a one-day celebration in a few cities to a worldwide movement that has mobilized significant investment in and political support for handwashing with soap.