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How Lifebuoy is helping protect children from preventable diseases


New partnership with Gavi and the Power of Nutrition to help give Indonesian children a healthier start in life.

Two smiling Indonesian schoolchildren wash their hands at an outdoor sink.

In 2021, diarrhoea and pneumonia were the cause of more than a quarter of all deaths occurring in Indonesian children under the age of one. But integrated interventions that begin at birth, including handwashing with soap, good nutrition and vaccination, could help to protect against these diseases.

That’s why Lifebuoy has joined forces with Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, and the Power of Nutrition – the charitable foundation – with the support of the Indonesian government, to create a programme that will draw on each partner’s expertise, with the aim of saving children’s lives.

Photo taken at a breakfast event in Davos, 2023, when the alliance between Unilever, the Power of Nutrition and Gavi was announced.
From left to right: Simon Bishop, CEO, The Power of Nutrition; José Manuel Barroso, Chair of Board of Directors, Gavi; Dr Pratsuti Soewondo, Special Advisor to Ministry of Health, Government of Indonesia; Hanneke Faber, President, Nutrition, Unilever; and Dr Seth Berkley, CEO, Gavi. Photo credit: Gavi/Nicholas Iliano

The $8 million fund, which was boosted by matched funding from the government of the Netherlands, will be used to empower and educate parents and care-givers of young children, helping them to make simple, positive health choices.

With the aim of improving the outcomes of 1 million children under the age of five, the programme builds on lessons learnt from an existing partnership between Gavi and Unilever in rural India. The original project raised parental awareness and drove behaviour change towards hygiene and early childhood vaccination, leading to a fivefold increase in incidental handwashing with soap, and a significant increase in routine immunisation against diseases such as rubella, measles and rotavirus.

“I’m delighted that Lifebuoy and Gavi are now launching a healthy nutrition programme, alongside our long-standing handwashing and childhood vaccine programmes, to help give children in Indonesia the best start in life,” said Hanneke Faber, President of Nutrition at Unilever.

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