LONDON, November 3, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- New global report highlights5 small steps to improve hygiene practices and reduce the burdenof infectious diseases in children worldwide The Global Hygiene Council (GHC) have today launched their "Small Steps for Big Change" report, investigating the alarming burden of preventable infectious diseases in children worldwide and calls for families, communities and healthcare professions to implement a simple 5-step plan to improve everyday hygiene practices and stop children dying from preventable infections. (Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20161012/427744 ) (Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20161012/427745-INFO ) The report highlights that more than 3 million children under the age of 5 years die from infectious diseases each year,  almost a million children die from pneumonia each year,  and more than 700,000 children under the age of 5 years die as a result of diarrhoea.  "It is unacceptable that largely preventable infections such as diarrhoea are still one of the biggest killers of children globally," says Professor John Oxford, an infectious diseases expert from the UK and Chair of the GHC. "Handwashing with soap has been shown to reduce diarrhoeal deaths by 50% and by developing this 5-step plan, we want to deliver a clear and consistent message about how small changes in hygiene practices could have a big impact on the health and well-being of children around the world." The 5-step plan has been developed by GHC experts, spanning paediatricians, infectious disease specialists, and public health experts from the UK, France, the USA, Nigeria, and South Africa. The 5-steps focus on making small changes such as improved hand hygiene and preventing the spread of infection in the home. The potential big changes that might result include halving the incidence of diarrhoea and reducing the burden of common childhood infections such as colds and influenza. "Poor personal hygiene and home hygiene practices are widely recognised as the main causes of infection transmission for colds, influenza and diarrhoea," says Professor Oxford. "Families, communities and healthcare professionals need to acknowledge that improved hygiene is effectively a first line of defence and that adopting better hygiene practices could have a dramatic and positive impact on the lives of young children worldwide."