Consistent evidence shows that handwashing with soap at critical times - before eating or preparing food and after using the toilet - can reduce diarrhoeal risk by 45% 2 and acute respiratory infections such as pneumonia, by 23 per cent. 3 Studies also reveal that primary school absenteeism due to diarrhoea and respiratory infections dropped between 20% and 50% as a result of better handwashing practices 4.“We are looking forward to working with Unilever to ensure that straightforward solutions like handwashing reach the people that need them the most,” said Sachs who leads the Millennium Villages Project. The poor need solutions that are affordable, products that are highly effective, and information that is practical and accessible. The benefits can be enormous.” The partnership will be focusing on villages in Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mali, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Tanzania and Uganda, and aims to: decrease incidence in diarrhoeal diseases, promote gender equality, increase school attendance and enhance productivity and well-being for all community members. The partnership will also focus on governments. Governments should integrate handwashing with soap into national health and education policy frameworks. Governments and aid donors should ensure adequate finance for hygiene facilities and water availabilities. Business must act too, ensuring their products are even more affordable and varied so that handwashing with soap is done everywhere and by all. Public-private partnerships have a role to play and can help governments harness the power of business for the benefit of their population’s health. Looking to the UN’s post-2015 agenda, Polman said, “It will be important to ensure that hygiene takes its place alongside targets on water and sanitation. This partnership with Millennium Villages Project will provide further evidence to demonstrate to policymakers how hygiene public policy can be improved, and help bring to an end the scandal of children dying from preventable diseases.”
Notes to Editors:Getty Images are covering the Global Handwashing Days events in Jakarta, Mumbai, Johannesburg/ Soweto, Nairobi and New York. High resolution photos will available to download on: www.unilever.com/mediacentre More information, please contact: About Global Handwashing Day:
- This 15 th October is Global Handwashing Day’s fifth birthday. Celebrated in over 100 countries, Global Handwashing Day is an annual awareness day which aims to put the global spotlight on handwashing with soap as a lifesaving habit.
- Unilever, through its Lifebuoy brand, co-founded Global Handwashing Day in 2008 with the Public Private Partnership for Handwashing with Soap (PPPHW) alongside UNICEF, P&G, USAID, the Work Bank Water and Sanitation Programme, US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention and the Academy for Educational Development.
Unilever has led the Food Producers sector in the Dow Jones Sustainability World Indexes for 14 consecutive years. In 2012 we were also named leader of the Food and Beverage supersector. We are included in the FTSE4Good Index Series and attained a top environmental score of 5, leading to inclusion in the FTSE4Good Environmental Leaders Europe 40 Index. In 2011 Unilever led the Climate Counts Company Scorecard and for the second year we topped the list of Global Corporate Sustainability Leaders in the GlobeScan/SustainAbility latest annual survey (2012).For more information about Unilever and its brands, please visit www.unilever.com.
|1||Link to http://www.globalhandwashingday.org/|
|2||CHERG 2010. Sandy Cairncross, Caroline Hunt, Sophie Boisson, Kristof Bostoen, Val Curtis, Isaac CH Fung, and Wolf-Peter Schmidt Water, sanitation and hygiene for the prevention of diarrhoea.Int. J. Epidemiol. 2010 39: i193-i205.|
|3||Rabie, T and Curtis, V. (2006): Handwashing and risk of respiratory infections: a quantitative systematic review. Tropical Medicine and International Health, 11(3), 258-267.|
|4||Three Studies: Bowen, A. et al., 2007. A cluster-randomised controlled trial evaluating the effect of a handwashing-promotion program in Chinese primary schools. The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, 76(6), pp.1166-1173. Talaat, M., 2011. Effects of Hand Hygiene Campaigns on Incidence of Laboratory-confirmed Influenza and Absenteeism in Schoolchildren, Cairo, Egypt. Emerging Infectious Diseases. Available at: http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/17/4/10-1353_article.htm (Accessed September 14, 2011).|