Published on October 15, 2020

Local Rotary Clubs Team Up with MidMichigan Health to Celebrate Global Handwashing Day

The COVID-19 pandemic provides a stark reminder that one of the most effective ways to stop the spread of a virus is also one of the simplest: hand hygiene. October 15 is Global Handwashing Day, a global day of advocacy dedicated to raising awareness about the importance of handwashing with soap as a simple and cost-effective way to prevent diseases and save lives.

According to the Global Handwashing Partnership, “To beat the virus today and ensure better health outcomes beyond the pandemic, handwashing with soap must be a priority now and in the future. This year’s theme, ‘Hand Hygiene for All,’ calls for all of society to achieve universal hand hygiene by teaching proper handwashing technique and by advocating for all people to have access to clean water and handwashing facilities.”

MidMichigan Health is teaming up with local Rotary Clubs to bring awareness about hand hygiene to their local and global communities in a variety of ways, including social medial outreach, hands-on educational activities and supplying educational materials for area schools and businesses to share with students, teachers and parents.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, following these five steps can prevent the spread of germs:

  1. Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.
  2. Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Be sure to lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
  3. Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
  4. Rinse hands well under clean, running water.
  5. Dry hands using a clean towel or air dry them.

The CDC also recommends washing hands “before and after” these activities:

  • After using the toilet
  • Before, during, and after preparing food
  • Before eating food
  • Before and after caring for someone at home who is sick with vomiting or diarrhea
  • After changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet
  • After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
  • After touching an animal, animal feed, or animal waste
  • After handling pet food or pet treats
  • After touching garbage

“Water, sanitation and hygiene is one Rotary International’s seven core areas of focus,” said Randy Ettema, district governor, Rotary District 6310, which stretches from Durand in the south to Alpena in the north and from Harbor Beach in the East to Mt. Pleasant in the west. “Rotarians are among the many people and organizations all over the world who are working hard to bring water, sanitation and hygiene to the most vulnerable populations, including women and children, people in conflict zones, people living in poverty and people with disabilities.”

“Handwashing is a key metric for MidMichigan Health, due to its power to prevent infection, and it’s something we routinely teach our employees, patients and visitors,” said Millie Jezior, APR, public relations manager, MidMichigan Health. “This season it is more important than ever to remind our communities that proper hand hygiene can help keep you and others safe during the pandemic and beyond. We’re pleased to join with Rotary in sharing this education with our local communities.”

Ettema also reminds us that only 60 percent of the world’s population has access to basic handwashing facilities, and therefore Rotary’s efforts extend beyond local education to projects around the world.

“For example, Rotarians in District 6310 have had a long-standing partnership with Rotarians in the Dominican Republic to bring sustainable clean water solutions and hygiene education to their schools and communities,” said Ettema. “Our clubs have also funded other sanitation projects, such as building a handwashing facility at a school in the Philippines after hurricane damage.”

Rotary International (www.rotary.org) is a global network of 1.2 million neighbors, friends, leaders, and problem-solvers who see a world where people unite and take action to create lasting change across the globe, in their communities, and in themselves. More than 35,000 clubs worldwide are working together to promote peace; fight disease; provide clean water, sanitation, and hygiene; save mothers and children; support education and grow local economies.

The Rotary Club of Midland (www.midlandrotaryclub.org)brings together leaders, professionals, and community members with a heart to serve. From pancake supper fundraisers to student scholarships, community grants, and revitalization of shared community spaces, the club is on mission to make a lasting impact in the local community and around the world. The club currently meets at noon on Thursdays via Zoom. Those who would like to learn more about the club may visit www.midlandrotaryclub.org.

The Rotary Club of Midland Morning (www.midlandmorningrotary.com)currently has 34 active members and meets on Tuesday mornings at 7 a.m. to hear a variety of guest speakers and to engage in community service. The Club has a particular focus on supporting early childhood education, youth and seniors in Midland County.  Members are currently meeting via Zoom to ensure social distancing. The Club is actively seeking new members, and guests are welcome to attend club meetings to learn more. Those who would like more information may contact Megan Yezak, megan.yezak@midmichigan.org or (989) 839-1353.

The Global Handwashing Partnership (globalhandwashing.org) is a coalition of international stakeholders who work explicitly to promote handwashing with soap and recognize hygiene as a pillar of international development and public health. The partnership includes private sector entities, academic institutions, governmental agencies and non-governmental organizations.