City officials recently strongly urged business establishments to adopt handwashing as a health and safety protocol and to establish handwashing facilities with steady supply of water in their respective establishments.
Under Resolution No. 362, series of 2023, local legislators stated that since hand hygiene is a concern of everyone, people must all work together to promote and enhance hand hygiene practices, ensuring that this becomes ingrained in their daily lives.
Further, the council proposed that the proper training for handwashing techniques and the use of behavioral nudges be adopted in all the establishments and offices.
Earlier, The World Health Organization (WHO) declared every May 5 as World Hand Hygiene Day. The declaration was a call for strong adherence to hand hygiene and for concerted efforts for the stakeholders to take action to stop the spread of diseases and infection.
Moreover, World Hand Hygiene Day is aimed to promote the importance of hand hygiene in preventing the spread of infection and promote good health.
Among the strategies to encourage hand hygiene through handwashing include trainings for proper handwashing and the use of behavioral nudges that will influence people to produce a positive outcome.
An example of a behavioral nudge is providing a visible and accessible handwashing facility with sufficient supply of soap and water.
The body pointed out that handwashing is a way of cleaning one’s hand that substantially reduces potential pathogens or harmful microorganisms on the hands. Hand hygiene is considered a primary measure for reducing the risk of transmitting infection among patients and health care personnel. When germs and other pathogens are not washed off, they can be transmitted from one person to another.
According to the resolution, the call for frequent handwashing and hand hygiene was accelerated during the COVID-19 pandemic. Handwashing was seen as a major deterrent in the transmission and spread of the deadly virus.
The council stipulated that today, people are not only concerned with the transmission of the COVID-19 virus but with other pathogens that are passed on through the hands.
One of the fundamental rules to protect oneself is to do frequent handwashing. In educational institutions, the Department of Education issued DepEd Order No. 10, series of 2016 on the policy and guidelines for the comprehensive water, sanitation and hygiene in schools program where hygiene and sanitation are essential to good health.
However, the mere presence of the handwashing facilities is not enough to achieve better hygiene and sanitation among the community members. Proper and correct practices in the use of the said facilities must be practiced to maximize the benefits and achieve the impact to the wellbeing of the community.
The council asserted that educational institutions, business establishments, public and private offices, and health care facilities can help build a culture of safety by encouraging the public to practice hand hygiene by accelerating awareness on the importance of hand hygiene through various strategies and by providing facilities for handwashing, and it has already been part of the protocol.