Devetletna Afganistanka Marjam si pere roke z vodo in milom, ki ju je za begunsko taborišče Ferdusi priskrbel Unicef. Foto Omid Fazel/Unicef
Devetletna Afganistanka Marjam si roke umiva z vodo in milom, ki ju je za begunsko taborišče Ferdusi priskrbel Unicef. Foto: Omid Fazel/Unicef

Water and soap, unattainable luxury

Washing hands, along with maintaining a safe distance and sneezing and coughing into a handkerchief or sleeve, is the most effective measure against the spread of the new coronavirus.

But for millions of children around the world, water and soap are unattainable luxuries, warns UNICEF ​​on World Handwashing Day.

If we wash our hands thoroughly with soap, we protect ourselves from many infectious diseases, not just covid-19. Simple, right? Unfortunately, no. We, who have clean running water available at every turn, find it hard to understand that millions of people around the world do not have the opportunity to wash their hands.

»The coronavirus pandemic has once again highlighted the key role of hand hygiene in preventing the spread of the disease. At the same time, it highlighted a global challenge – washing hands with soap remains out of reach for millions of children around the world, at home, at school, on the go,« said Kelly Ann Naylor, Deputy Head of UNICEF’s Water, Hygiene and Sanitation Programs.

»It is unacceptable that the most vulnerable communities cannot use the simplest and at the same time most effective measures to protect themselves and their loved ones from disease. Immediate action is needed to enable everyone to wash their hands with soap.«

Hand washing is not only the first defence against the new coronavirus, but also against pneumonia, cholera, diarrhoea, dysentery, typhus, hepatitis A and many other dangerous diseases.

Only three out of five people in the world have the option to wash their hands. This means that as many as three billion people on Earth do not have the conditions to wash their hands with soap and water at home.

Almost 75 percent of the population of the least developed countries do not have the basic conditions for washing their hands at home. Nearlt half of the schools in the world do not have adequate facilities for washing hands with soap and water.

Points to Consider

  1. How do you clean your hands without soap and water?
  2. Why are some people more vulnerable to infections with novel coronavirus?
  3. Do you know that a lot of people do not have access to a toilette?


*The original version of this article was published on October 15th.

English translation courtesy of JL FlannerTotal Slovenia News, an English language website with news from and about Slovenia.


Dobnikar Šeruga rada potuje po vsem svetu. Spoznava nove kraje in ljudi in se vedno znova razveseli spoznanja, da smo prebivalci tega planeta zelo različni in vendar povsem enaki.

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Ljubljana Slovenia

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