Unilever and the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) have set up a programme to mount a rapid response to contain and limit the spread of Covid-19. The programme will reach up to a billion people, raising awareness and changing behaviour, to make sure people are washing their hands with soap regularly and disinfecting surfaces.
The ‘Hygiene & Behaviour Change Coalition (HBCC)’ represents a £100 million contribution to the UK’s response to tackling Covid-19 in low and middle income countries. The HBCC is taking a three-pronged approach, building on Unilever’s tried and tested hygiene interventions: mass communications, behaviour change programs and digital solutions, focused on hand hygiene and environmental hygiene.
Delivery partners are supported by £50m of DFID funding. This is alongside a £50m in-kind contribution from Unilever that includes providing hygiene products, access to hygiene educational materials, campaigns and communications expertise. The initiative will be complemented with public health messaging delivered by Unilever’s hygiene brands Domestos bleach and Lifebuoy soap, which have been driving large scale hygiene behaviour change programmes for decades.
While drawing on Unilever’s expertise in behaviour change and consumer insights, the HBCC also works closely with a network of specialist partners. This includes harnessing the expertise of leading academics from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM). LSHTM provides technical and scientific advice about behaviour change and program development to partners.
Underpinned by vast expertise
Unilever is well positioned to help. Lifebuoy handwashing programmes have already reached over 450 million people over the last ten years, tackling diseases like rotavirus and typhoid which spread easily through people’s hands. Domestos programmes have helped 28 million people over the last eight years get improved access to toilets in schools and communities, ensuring facilities are kept clean and safe for longer.
DFID and Unilever are working closely with partners to curb the spread of coronavirus in vulnerable countries with poor health systems and ensuring that the programme is making an impact where most needed, saving lives in the process.
For more resources on how to tackle Covid-19 through hygiene, please visit the Hygiene Hub, hosted by our partners London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and DFID. It is a free service to help actors in low and middle income countries rapidly share, design, and adapt evidence-based hygiene interventions to combat Covid-19.