Washing hands with soap and water has been and remains one of the most cost-effective measures against the transmission of diseases that are available in public health. The promotion of proper hand washing with soap and water can save many lives.

Each year about 3.5 million children, die before their fifth birthday due to preventable diseases, mainly diarrhea and acute respiratory diseases. The adoption of the habit of washing hands with soap and water before eating and after defecating, can prevent nearly half the number of deaths from diarrhea, and almost on-fourth of deaths from acute respiratory diseases.

For more information, visit PAHO's webpage on "Salud y Escuelas" (Health and Schools"): www.paho.org/saludyescuelas