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Celebrating the lifesaving power of soap

On Global Handwashing Day 2014 Lifebuoy is focussing on the power of soap and water to significantly cut the number of neonatal deaths each year.

Helping more children enjoy a brighter future

young children participating in handwashing day

Every 20 seconds a child dies from diarrhoea or pneumonia, making these two preventable diseases the top two killers of children worldwide. Furthermore, over 40% of child deaths happen during the first 28 days, the neonatal period.

Many of these deaths can be prevented by the simple low cost act of handwashing with soap: research suggests that regular handwashing among mothers and birth attendants can reduce the number of newborn deaths by 41%.

It’s not just babies who stand to benefit from improved hygiene practices. Good handwashing habits can stop the spread of diarrhoea and pneumonia and save 600,000 children’s lives every year.

Changing habits and saving lifes

That’s why on Global Handwashing Day, on 15 October, people in more than 100 countries are coming together to champion handwashing with soap and urge governments to support programmes that change handwashing behaviours.

Lifebuoy’s Help a Child Reach 5 programme, for example, is changing habits and saving lives. Starting from Thesgora, a village in Madhya Pradesh with one of the highest rates of diarrhoea in India in 2013, it is expand its life-saving mission, village by village, across South and Southeast Asia, Africa and Latin America.

Taking action on global handwashing day

Lifebuoy is also working hard to raise awareness about the importance of handwashing on a global level: at the UN General Assembly it asked 35 of the world’s First Ladies to help a child reach five. And on Global Handwashing Day thousands of Unilever employees will help to spread Lifebuoy’s handwashing message further by heading into schools around the world to teach children good hygiene habits.

You can also support Global Handwashing Day – and Lifebuoy’s ongoing work - by sharing the Help a Child Reach 5 film and joining the conversation at #helpachildreach5. Every time you share the film, Lifebuoy will donate towards hand washing programs to help create a brighter future for children.

Myriam Sidibe, Global Social Mission Director for Lifebuoy, says: “It is unthinkable to even imagine children falling fatally ill from a preventable disease like diarrhoea. That’s why we need to celebrate handwashing, not just today, but every day.”

Find out more about Lifebuoy’s work and get involved at #helpachildreach5

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