Unilever Malawi, through its Lifebuoy brand will tomorrow, October 16, 2018 join the rest of the world in celebrating the Global Hand washing Day by donating Lifebuoy soap worth over MK1.7 million to Kamuzu Central Hospital (KCH) in Malawi’s capital city, Lilongwe.
Global Hand washing Day, now in its 11th year, is a day co-founded by Unilever’s health soap Lifebuoy, UNICEF and other non-governmental institutions in 2008 to raise awareness of hand washing with soap as a simple but lifesaving habit.
According to a statement made available to Nyasa Times from Unilever, the company intends to celebrate the day by reaching out to more than 200 children and patients at Kamuzu Central Hospital, teaching them proper hand washing with soap.
Country Director for Unilever Anele Zunga said the company chose Kamuzu Central, being the biggest hospital in Malawi to reach out to as many mothers and children as possible.
“We have been closely working with the Ministry of Health and last year we visited Kapeni Demonstration School in Blantyre, where Minister of health Atupele Muluzi was in attendance as Guest of Honor.
“As Unilever, we have been involved in this project because our purpose as a business is to help improve the health and well-being of people in the communities we are operating in. As we commemorate the day, Lifebuoy is asking the people of Malawi to support the cause by pledging to help a child reach their fifth birthday through handwashing with soap,” said Zunga.
KCH director Dr Jonathan Ngoma is expected to preside over the celebrations tomorrow as Guest of Honor.
The Global Handwashing Day comes at a time when Malawi had a Cholera outbreak and according to the Minister of Health, as of April 2018, a total of 874 Cholera cases were reported with a total of 27 deaths from 13 districts across the country.
According to health experts, hand washing with soap at critical times such as after using the toilet and before eating or preparing food, can reduce diarrhoeal diseases including Cholera and Typhoid risk by 45 percent and acute respiratory infections (ARIs), such as pneumonia by 23 percent. This makes hand washing with soap one of the most cost-effective interventions to prevent diarrhoea related deaths and diseases.
Diarrhoea and pneumonia are the two leading killers of children, accounting for 29 percent of under five deaths globally –claiming more than two million lives each year. In Malawi, reports suggest that 64 in every 1,000 children die before they reach the age of five every year.
The 2018 Global Hand washing Day theme is ‘High 5 for Hand washing’ where for every High 5, Lifebuoy commits to teaching children to wash hands. The theme focuses on the links between hand washing and food – including food hygiene and nutrition.
Hand washing at critical times, especially before cooking, eating, or feeding others is cited as one of the most important ways to keep food clean and safe, prevent diseases, and help children grow strong.
Since 2014, Unilever has supported and commemorated the Global Hand washing Day, carrying out various community health improvement programs.
Through the Lifebuoy brand, the company says it to help 1 billion people around the world improve their hand-washing habits by 2020.
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