Unicef says using soap to wash hands, particularly after contact with excreta, can reduce diarrhoeal diseases by over 40% and respiratory infections by 30%.
Diarrhoea and respiratory infections are the main cause for child deaths in India.
Nearly half the population of South Asia has no access to toilets, whilst in sub-Saharan Africa this figure is as low as 28%.
With such poor sanitation standards, it is little surprise that children in the region are susceptible to diarrhoea, hepatitis and pneumonia - often leading to their deaths, the UN says.
The UN is celebrating 2008 as the International Year of Sanitation.
Have you washed your hands? Link -via Simply Left Behind, where you'll find more links on the subject.