MANILA, Philippines–Globally, an estimated 3.5 million children die every year due to diarrhea and respiratory diseases. Millions more suffer from Hepatitis A, influenza and measles. These illnesses and deaths can be prevented through the simple act of proper handwashing which eliminates disease-spreading germs.
Prevention is better than cure and this was best exemplified by Unilever during the recent Global Handwashing Day celebration in the country where students were taught how to wash their hands with soap and clean water to eliminate disease-spreading germs, to help prevent absenteeism and incidences of deadly illnesses such as diarrhea and respiratory diseases.
At the Mandaluyong City Elementary School, Unilever kicked off this year’s Global Handwashing Day campaign via a commitment ceremony. The country’s leading personal care company, Unilever, and its partners—United Nationals Children’s Fund (Unicef), the Department of Education (DepEd), Department of Social Welfare and Development, Department of Health, Philippine Public Health Administration (PPHA), Fit for School, Knowledge Channel and Manila Water Services—pledged to educate 1.5 million school children this 2014 on proper handwashing.
Present during the event were Unilever VP for Personal Care Gina Lorenzana, Unilever VP for Corporate Affairs Chito Macapagal, Unilever PR Head Apples Aberin, Unilever Corporate Communications Manager Liza Vengco, Philippine Public Health Association President Maluh Orezca, Unicef Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Specialist Jon Villasenor, Fit for School Country Program Manager Irene Mercado, DepED Adopt-A-School Program Project Officer Romy Parayno, Knowledge Channel President Rina Lopez-Bautista, Manila Water Foundation President Ferdinand Dela Cruz. They were joined by Mandaluyong City Councilor Charisse Abalos and First Lady of Mandaluyong City Menchie Abalos, as well as hundreds of students, teachers, parents and school administrators.
Committed to handwashing education
“Guided by our long-term goal to improve the health and well-being of one billion people globally through the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan, we at Unilever are committed to continue leading the proper handwashing education program in the country by introducing this life-saving lesson in 330 public elementary and high schools in Metro Manila,” said Macapagal.
During the event, officials of Unilever and its advocacy partners led a handwashing commitment ceremony among hundreds of students. They were also joined by Bb. Pilipinas 2014 Queens, Jericho Rosales and host Dimples Romana.
Dimples and Jericho demonstrated to the students how to properly wash their hands with soap and clean water using a 7-step, 20-second process.
For the second straight year, Unilever is partnering with the Knowledge Channel to introduce proper handwashing lessons to students through video presentations and actual thorough handwashing activities during homeroom sessions. The kids will also receive kits on proper hand washing and Unilever soaps to take home.
On top of this, Unilever also partnered with Manila Water Foundation to teach more than 8,000 children the proper way of handwashing using soap and clean water through various events in malls and schools nationwide.
Everyone was also encouraged to take their commitment one step further by pledging to teach proper handwashing to one child.
Celebrate #GlobalHandwashingDay today. #PledgeHandsSaveLives for a #BrightFuture.