It is worth highlighting that handwashing with soap reduces the risk of diarrhoea by 45%, pneumonia by 23% and levels of school absenteeism by 20-50%. What’s more, research demonstrates that handwashing with soap is one of the most effective and low-cost ways to prevent these deadly diseases. But this is more than just a cost-based argument – there are strong social and economic arguments for investing in handwashing behavioural change programmes.
Common sense tells us that healthier populations lead to increased well-being and economic productivity. Indeed, the lack of investment in sanitation and hygiene is a major drag on economic growth. More specifically, the economic impact of inadequate sanitation in India stands at over $50 billion a year – the equivalent of 6.4% of India’s GDP. Put simply, investing in handwashing with soap initiatives, India will be investing in its human capital.