Global Handwashing Day

Honourable senators, if you are like me, you have heard enough about handwashing. Honourable senators know how important this practice is to protect our health and to prevent the spread of disease, particularly with the H1N1 epidemic.

However, around the world there is another epidemic — the epidemic of intestinal diarrheal diseases and pneumonia — that kills 3.5 million children every year.

Honourable senators, the same handwashing practices that will help keep us healthy and safe from flu can save many of these children; but soap, water and education are not always within the grasp of those living in dire poverty.

On October 15, we celebrated Global Handwashing Day to raise awareness of the importance of this practice to health and development. “Clean hands save lives” is the call to action — such a simple act with such dramatic effects. Handwashing will protect us from flu and it will make children around the world healthier.

Let us do what we can to reach out and lend a hand — a helping land, a clean hand — to people living in countries where simple hygiene, soap and water are beyond the reach of far too many.

We know that health and education are the foundations of a safe and prosperous society. Canada is an example of this fact. We must do more to help people in other countries be healthy too.

Let us support the work of the Global Sanitation Fund, which is looking to Canada for a $10-million to $15-million contribution. This money will help make handwashing something everyone does, many times a day, all over the world. It will be an important step to a healthier world, a better world — something we all want.