Global Handwashing Day in the Time of Ebola

October 15, 2014 2:01 PM

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Global Handwashing Day in the Time of Ebola

We shouldn't require a horrific epidemic like Ebola to remind us why we observe Global Handwashing Day today. But it seems, alas, many in the world can use a reminder about the importance of good hygiene. Though proper hygiene - including the use of soap and water to stop the transmission of infections - has been recognized for at least 150 years as critical to public health, actual hygienic practices around the world lag far behind what should be a basic standard of safety for all of us.

The problem is of course most acute for the poorest people. Many of the world's poor people simply lack access to safe water, decent sanitation (including places to defecate in privacy and safety), and soap needed to stay safe throughout the day from water-borne and hand-to-mouth pathogens. It is al...

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