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Last Updated: Thursday October 15 2009 05:58 GMT

I learnt how clean hands save lives

Children washing their hands  in Malawi
Children washing their hands in Malawi

Press Packer Chloe has learnt about the importance of washing hands.

She tells her story:

"Thursday 15 October is Global Handwashing Day, when people all around the world try to raise awareness about how washing your hands properly can stop diseases.

Our hands can have lots of bacteria on them, so hand washing with soap is one of the best ways to avoid getting sick.

It's very important to encourage people to wash their hands, because 1.5 million young children in different countries die from diarrheal diseases every year.

Many of these diseases can be prevented by simple things like washing hands - but in poorer counties it's often worse because they don't have as much soap and water as we do.

Access to water

Our school has a partner school in Malawi in Africa called Chipaso Secondary School. We exchanged posters and ideas to look at how people wash their hands when they don't have access to water or soap all the time.

At our school we did loads of fun activities. We had a relay race and on every leg we tried to wash our hands properly. We then designed a poster and created a play on why it's important to wash our hands. Some of us wrote poems and songs.

In our English lessons we wrote essays on hand washing which will be in a competition. The best activity was a fancy dress parade! We dressed up as germs that cause disease - some of my friends were soap and hands.

Saving lives

You can also learn to wash your hands properly. Spread soap over your hands. Then clean the backs of your hands, your fingertips, your fingernails, your thumbs, between your fingers and under your nails.

Rinse with warm water and dry your hands thoroughly with a clean towel.

It sounds really simple, but I learnt that clean hands can actually save lives!"

Chloe, 11, Surrey

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