60% don’t wash their hands with soap after using the toilet or before eating

Lifebuoy believes it’s important for organisations to come together to commemorate Global Handwashing Day annually

15 October 2019 - 08:19
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Lifebuoy brand ambassador DJ Zinhle and Bruno Witvoet, president of Unilever Africa, celebrate Global Handwashing Day.
Lifebuoy brand ambassador DJ Zinhle and Bruno Witvoet, president of Unilever Africa, celebrate Global Handwashing Day.
Image: Supplied/Lifebuoy

This Global Handwashing Day, information from the department of health indicates that 60% of South Africans do not wash their hands with soap after using the toilet or before they eat, and those that do, don’t use soap. (Global Hygiene survey, 2009). 

This despite the fact that handwashing with soap can reduce the rate of diarrheal infections by almost 50% and acute respiratory diseases by up to 25% in children. (Interim Report of the Committee on Morbidity and mortality in children under 5 years, 2012).

Lifebuoy believes this is why it’s so important for organisations to come together annually to commemorate Global Handwashing Day. This year's event takes place on Tuesday.

“Diarrhoea continues to be a major public health concern locally, accounting for 3.4% of total deaths annually (District Health Information System 2018/19, National department of health), and, according to Stats SA, remains the eighth-largest cause of death in the country (Stats SA),” says Sphelele Mjadu, public relations lead for Unilever Africa. This is the reason “Lifebuoy remains committed to educating children and adults on the importance of handwashing with soap at key occasions, to stop the spread of dangerous germs and build healthier communities", she says. 

This Global Handwashing Day Lifebuoy has plenty to celebrate, having reached its goal of educating more than 1bn people globally with proper handwashing habits. In SA, Lifebuoy has reached more than 2m children through the National Schools Hygiene and Sanitation Programme, in partnership with the department of basic education. Through this five-year programme, Lifebuoy aims to reach more than 5m children.

In the week leading up to Global Handwashing Day, the department of health and Lifebuoy participated in a community outreach programme to reinforce handwashing hygiene, giving out educational leaflets and Lifebuoy soap samples. Lifebuoy visited five schools in the Ilembe District in KwaZulu-Natal to remind pupils of the importance of good handwashing habits at school. The company will also donate 25 new handwashing basins.

Lifebuoy representatives also visited Maphumulo Clinic to reinforce the importance of hygiene with patients and visitors, teaching proper handwashing techniques and handing out Lifebuoy samples to ensure everyone could practice and share what they had learnt at home.

On Tuesday, Lifebuoy will celebrate Global Handwashing Day with the department of health and others at Nyamazane Primary School, with 1,300 learners, teachers and parents. Lifebuoy ambassador DJ Zinhle will spend time with the children and help to hand over the new wash basins, which will be donated in partnership with Lifebuoy and Top T. 

Help Lifebuoy spread the word that washing with soap can save lives this Global Handwashing Day.

Follow Lifebuoy on Facebook or Twitter and share how you plan to create clean hands for all using the #HandsOnGermProtection and #CleanHandsForAll.

For more information visit www.lifebuoy.com and www.globalhandwashing.org

 

This article was paid for by Lifebuoy.

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