Lifebuoy, yesterday celebrated the 8th Global Handwashing Day (GHD) together with Global Handwashing Day co-founder and Unilever Hygiene and Nutrition Social Mission Director for Africa, Dr Myriam Sidibe.
Also in attendance were Unilever Executive Vice-President of Africa, Bruno Witvoet, Unilever SA CEO Peter Cowan and Acting Chief Director: Environmental and Port Health Services, Aneliswa Cele.
2000 pupils from Faranani Primary School, Soweto-Protea Glen, demonstrated the importance of handwashing as an easy and affordable method of disease prevention.
Dr Sidibe said she was impressed with the great strides Lifebuoy has made since 2012 to reach its goal of 1 billion people by 2020 with its’ hygiene initiatives.
“Lifebuoy’s Help a Child Reach 5′ initiative, launched in 2012 is now the world’s largest behaviour change programme to date and has so far reached over 250 million people globally and 8 million locally,” she said.
Every year, 1.7 million children under the age of 5 die from infections such as diarrhoea and pneumonia. Lifebuoy’s handwashing campaign aims to educate
underprivileged communities around the world that handwashing with soap is one of the most effective and low cost ways to prevent these infections.
‘Help a Child Reach 5’ has two core pillars; changing the behaviour of schoolchildren and their parents via an interactive schools solution and affecting the behaviour of new mothers and health care workers via a neonatal programme.”
A startling report is that South Africa and Sub-Saharan account for 81% of child deaths as a result of diseases.
Unilever Executive Vice-President of Africa, Bruno Witvoet says: “Unilever believes in the Global Goals. We believe that, with the collaboration of
government, business, communities and individuals, it is possible for us to achieve these ambitious targets by 2030.”
Interestingly, one hundred and ninety three world leaders have now committed to 17 Global Goals that aim to end extreme poverty, fight inequality and injustice and fix climate change in the next 15 years.
The Global Goals for sustainable development were officially adopted by the UN on September 25, 2015.
October has been declared National Handwashing Month.
Unilever brightFuture ambassadors, Mafikizolo and actress/fashion designer Mbali Mlotshwa, had fun with the pupils but most importantly told them to care for themselves and also wash their hands regularly.