New Delhi, October 19, 2020: On the occasion of the Global Handwashing Week (October 15 to 21, 2020), Delhi Government collaborates with Hindustan Unilever’s Lifebuoy and People to People Health Foundation to Promote “H for Handwashing”. The Honorable Deputy Chief Minister and Education Minister, Manish Sisodia, inaugurated a “movement to accelerate handwashing behaviour-change for children and launched an interactive playbook and posters to promote teaching H for Handwashing amongst kindergarten.
The movement aims to remind people of one of the biggest inculcated habits of handwashing and its importance learned during the pandemic. To stay safe and secure, the habit of handwashing cannot be ignored even if cases drop, lockdowns ease – it is that one habit all of us – children, grown-ups, and even the elderly, need to remember.
It is believed that children as young as between 3-5 years can be taught hygiene behaviour -transferring the onus from the primary caregiver to themselves. Children have been learning the letters of the alphabet for hundreds of years through simple associations with everyday references such as “A for Apple”, “B for Ball”, “C for Cat”. Starting this day, the movement aims to advocate greater emphasis on hand hygiene education where no longer will the letter H stand for Horse, Hat, or even Home; H must stand for Handwashing.
“We acknowledge the effort of Unilever’s Lifebuoy brand and People to People Health Foundation for curating this unique idea with us for extensive promotion amongst school children and through them, amongst the whole community. We are committed to the health and well-being of our future generations. Instilling the life-saving habit of handwashing through education will not only help fight COVID 19 but will provide life-long protection to the communities against various infectious diseases and develop resilience,” said the Honorable Deputy Chief Minister and Education Minister, Manish Sisodia.
“The importance of handwashing with soap has been thrust into the global spotlight amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Today more than ever, we need to ensure that handwashing with soap remains prioritised and practised by everyone, everywhere. We have been champions of hygiene for over 100 years and will continue teaching as many people as possible the simple, cost-effective act of handwashing with soap. We strongly believe that a change that starts with the young is heard by everyone. Thus, we strongly recommend changing the way the alphabet is taught in textbooks/digitally and general educational material published. The need of the hour is to forever change H is for Hat to H is for Handwashing,” said Srirup Mitra, Vice President, Skin Cleansing, Hindustan Unilever.
“People to People Health Foundation works with the mission of Transforming lives for improved health and wellbeing through locally driven solutions. COVID-19 has reinforced the importance of handwashing and we are excited to promote H for Handwashing through our programmes. And we start from Delhi,” said Dr Laxmikant Palo, CEO of People to People Health Foundation.
The interactive teaching materials will be disseminated across 400 schools reaching more than 4000 children. It will also be placed in more than 10,000 plus Anganwadi Centres across Delhi. The inaugural event also witnessed the launch of an innovative foot operated handwashing stations which would be placed across Mohalla clinics, schools, marketplaces, RWA, hospitals, etc. This has been launched with the intent to promote an enabling environment for the promotion and implementation of handwashing as one of the strongest strategies against COVID-19.
As our children explore the new world around them, good hygiene behaviours must be instilled early on to keep them safe and healthy. The movement coincides with a recent study in India which found that children are key to transmitting the virus that causes COVID-19 in their households and communities.