As the World marked the Global Handwashing Day on October 15, 2019, consumer goods maker, Unilever and Amref announced their partnership in a campaign christened Creation for Purpose.
The campaign according to a news report by Business Daily is geared towards reducing deaths caused by poor hygiene and sanitation, a phenomenon that has mostly affected the informal settlements.
According to the Global Handwashing Partnership, a coalition of international stakeholders who work explicitly to promote handwashing with soap, handwashing with soap is an easy, effective, and affordable do-it-yourself protection that prevents infections and saves lives.
“Diarrhea and pneumonia are leading causes of death for children under the age of five. Handwashing with soap is among the most effective and inexpensive ways to prevent these diseases. This simple behavior can save lives, cutting diarrhea by almost one-half and acute respiratory infections by nearly one-quarter,” the Global Handwashing Partnership website reads in part.
Speaking at Kawangware Primary School in Nairobi during celebrations to mark the World Global Hand-washing day, the Unilever EA Marketing director Pawan Kumar-Marella as reported by the Business Daily, handwashing can reduce incidence of pneumonia by 23 percent and diarrhea by up to 45 percent.
He added that: “When more people use soap regularly and have access to sanitation, the impact on health is significant.”
On his part, Peter Waka, a Director at Amref said treating the diseases can be a big burden to families and yet this is money that can be used for other purposes that can potentially reduce poverty.
In an op-ed published by Standard, Mr Marella points out that in Kenya, Unilever’s Lifebuoy has been partnering with the HEROES4CHANGE programme to drive large-scale hand-washing education programmes harnessing the untapped power of good of young university students.
“The first phase of this programme was deployed in 2017 with 100 young heroes reaching more than 100,000 children across Kenya. Following the success of this, in 2019, 500 heroes were recruited and reached 700,000 children across Kenya teaching them the life-saving habit of handwashing,” reads Standard op-ed authored by Mr Marella.