Global Handwashing Day

This year marks the fifth birthday of Global Handwashing Day co-founded by Lifebuoy to raise awareness of handwashing with soap as a lifesaving habit.

To commemorate five years of GHD, Lifebuoy is announcing the start of a new initiative to defeat diarrhoea one village at a time starting in India and Africa. Lifebuoy aims to reduce the number of preventable diarrhoeal deaths in these villages through hygiene interventions like handwashing with soap.

With little over three years to go until the deadline for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) including MDG 4 - to reduce the mortality of children under five by two-thirds - Lifebuoy is calling on governments, schools and communities in South Africa to focus on handwashing with soap as an intervention that can help save millions more lives.

Over the past two years, Lifebuoy has successfully changed the handwashing behaviour of 48 million people – edging towards its goal to reach one billion people by 2015. But Lifebuoy cannot do this alone. With the support of Unilever, Lifebuoy aims to bring Global Handwashing Day to a wider audience and influence government policy, to make hygiene behaviour change education part of every school curricula.

“Handwashing with soap is one of the most effective and low cost ways to prevent diseases like pneumonia and diarrhoea which stop 2.1 million children every year reaching their fifth birthday . We know from clinical research that handwashing with soap at key occasions can reduce the risk of diarrhoea by up to approximately 45% . That means that handwashing with soap could help a lot more children reach their fifth birthday.” said Angela Klute,Vice President Marketing, Personal Care .

“Everyone, even the public has a role to play in helping spread the handwashing message. Lifebuoy is asking the people of South Africa to support the cause by pledging to ‘help a child reach their fifth birthday’. For every pledge, we will teach the lifesaving habit to one more child through our handwashing behaviour change programmes,” said Marijn van Tiggelen, Unilever SA Chairman.

“As more awareness is created around personal hygiene, we are hopeful that this important message will filter through to various groups of society as the first step towards creating a safe, germ-free and better place for all.”

As part of the Global Handwashing Day initiative, Unilever SA Lifebuoy representatives visited Thamela Primary School in Umlazi, KZN last week where children were exposed to important handwashing demonstrations as part of the campaign to encourage good hygiene habits..

The Lifebuoy team distributed samples of Lifebuoy soap to eagerly awaiting children. Joining the school visit was Bhekisisa Ndlovu, Inspector of Schools in KZN.

Earlier today popular South African singer and Africa’s brand ambassador for Lifebuoy, Yvonne Chaka Chaka, visited Margaret Gwele Primary School in Dobsonville, Soweto, Johannesburg where she addressed children about the benefits of handwashing with Lifebuoy soap./p>

Pledges can be made at Lifebuoy’s Facebook page Facebook.com/Lifebuoy. See the Facebook page for more details.

Unilever South Africa - Unathi Mgobozi External Affairs Manager

+27 31 570 3000
031 570 2470
Unathi.Mgobozi@unilever.com

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