Unilever’s soap Lifebuoy today called for hygiene to be recognised as a key intervention to reducing child mortality, both in the last 900 days before the Millennium Development Goal ( MDG) deadline and in the post-2015 development agenda. Partnerships between business, NGOs and governments are crucial to accelerate live-saving handwashing programmes at the necessary scale.
From L to R: Paul Polman, CEO Unilever, Kajol, distinguished Indian actress, Karl Hofmann, President and CEO Population Services International (PSI) and Jeffrey Sachs, Director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University. (Photo: Business Wire)
As part of this week’s 68th United Nations General Assembly in New York, Lifebuoy gathered experts from across public and private organisations to look at how handwashing with soap can help more children reach the age of five. Key in this discussion was the role the private sector can play in accelerating progress towards the MDG which aims to reduce child mortality. Paul Polman, CEO Unilever, Jeffrey Sachs, Director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University, Karl Hofmann, President and CEO Population Services International (PSI), Pavanjit-Singh Bedi, Lifebuoy Global Brand Director, and Kajol, distinguished Indian actress, handwashing ambassador and Help a Child Reach 5 advocate, agreed that scaling up lifesaving handwashing with soap programmes must be recognised as a critical policy to reduce child mortality.
Paul Polman, CEO Unilever and member of the High Level Panel Post 2015, said: “Governments can find it hard to engage with programmes that involve behaviour change. Hygiene is an area which has been often overlooked. No business, government or UN agency can achieve the agreed reduction of child mortality alone, but by working together we can combine the expertise, resources and policy needed to achieve real change.”