Karachi: This year marks the fifth birthday of Global Handwashing Day (GHD) – a day co-founded by Unilever’s health soap brand Lifebuoy to raise awareness of handwashing with soap as a simple, but lifesaving habit. This day is being celebrated in 100 countries and Lifebuoy, a global Unilever brand, is leading the charge for it in most countries.
With little over three years to go until the deadline for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) including MDG 4 – to help reduce the mortality of children under five by two-thirds – Lifebuoy along with Idara-e-Taleem-o-Aagahi (ITA) and The Citizen’s Foundation (TCF) are visiting schools and communities across Pakistan to create awareness on and 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 globally – edging towards its goal to reach one billion people by 2015. 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.
Lifebuoy Pakistan has been working relentlessly to inculcate the habit of handwashing in children for the last 3 years. Over 1 million children have been influenced directly through Lifebuoy’s programme, in collaboration with ITA. The program has been running in 11 Districts including cities like Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Peshawar, Quetta, Charsadda, Mardan, Swat, Muzaffargarh, Hyderabad and Shikarpur.
“Everyone, even the public has a role to play in helping spread the habit of handwashing with soap. Lifebuoy is asking the people of Pakistan 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 Ehsan Malik, Chairman and CEO, Unilever Pakistan.
“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%.” said Falak Jalil, Lifebuoy Brand Manager, Unilever Pakistan.
This year marked one of the biggest celebrations for Global Handwashing Day by Lifebuoy Pakistan – 600 Unilever employees, including the Chairman and senior leadership, went to more than 35 TCF (The Citizens Foundation) schools across Pakistan to reinforce the benefits of washing hands with soap. In one week, employees across factories, sales offices and the head office, went to schools and inculcated the habit of handwashing in children by playing educational games, teaching the correct technique and key occasions of handwashing with soap.