2021 State of the World’s Hand Hygiene report

25 October, 2021

All households in the world’s 46 least developed countries could have handwashing facilities by 2030 if the world invested less than US$1 per person per year, in hand hygiene, according to the 2021 State of the World’s Hand Hygiene report launched on – Global Handwashing Day – by WHO and UNICEF.

This investment would provide basic protection against diseases, avert future outbreaks and prevent hundreds of thousands of deaths. The report highlights that the annual cost to governments of promoting handwashing with soap at home comes to just 2.5 per cent of the average government health expenditure in these countries — providing significant health benefits for relatively little cost.

The simple act of cleaning hands can save lives and reduce illness by helping prevent the spread of infectious diseases. During the COVID-19 pandemic, hand hygiene received unprecedented attention and became a central pillar in national COVID prevention strategies. However, both access to the facilities to practise hand hygiene and support for the behaviours required are missing in many settings. If current rates of progress continue, by the end of the SDG era in 2030, 1.9 billion people will still lack facilities to wash their hands at home. This report outlines the current state of hand hygiene in the world, and how governments, communities, individuals and other stakeholders can accelerate progress to achieve hand hygiene for all.

  • Explore the report here.