Sunday, November 28, 2010

Lifebuoy: Global Handwashing Day Awareness Critical to Saving Lives

Dubai, United Arab Emirates, 28 November 2010: Lifebuoy, Unilever’s leading skin cleansing
brand, is taking the lead and raising awareness in the GCC by establishing a region wide
survey on hand washing habits and educating people more effectively. The results so far
raise questions on whether adequate attention is being paid to this simple life saving habit.

The ongoing GCC wide survey has found that nearly 32 per cent of respondents do not
always use soap, which is the most effective tool to eradicate dangerous bacteria and should
be used as well as water to wash hands. Meanwhile, close to 65 per cent of people don’t
wash their hands for long enough to sufficiently kill deadly germs whereas in actual fact, the
recommended time is at least 20 seconds and on average most people spend less than 10

In addition, the survey found that close to 70 per cent think that Diarrhoea kills less people
than HIV and AIDS, when in reality Diarrhoea and Pneumonia, which are readily spread by a
lack of efficient hygiene solutions, kill nearly 3.5 million children under the age of 5 every year,
alarmingly much more than HIV and AIDS.

“In 2010 alone Lifebuoy has covered up to 100,000 children by educating them on the
importance of washing hands with soap. However, the initial results from this research
suggest that we need to raise more awareness and accordingly our efforts will be ongoing,”
explains Iain Potter, Vice President Marketing, Unilever.

The simple act of washing hands with soap at key points of the day can reduce the incidence
of diarrhea rates among children under five by more than 40 per cent and respiratory
infections by nearly 25 percent. Additionally, major respiratory diseases can be reduced
dramatically by washing hands with soap, and studies suggest that the spread of the SARS
virus can be cut by as much as 55 per cent by washing hands 10 times or more throughout
the day.

“It is clear that there is much work to be done to raise awareness in the region of the
importance of hand washing with soap. Soap is a key factor in preventing potentially lethal
diseases and it is important that brands such as Lifebuoy continue to educate people.
Washing hands with water alone is not effective. Soap must be used to eliminate harmful
bacteria,” says Dr. Fadil Yousif Al-Najjar, Consultant Paediatrician, The Dubai Mall Medical

Lifebuoy recently celebrated the 3rd annual Global Handwashing Day (GHWD) across the
Gulf with a series of school activities on October 15th, 2010, which has already reached

100,000 children in the UAE and Kuwait).

Global Handwashing Day was launched in 2008 by the global Public-Private Partnership
for Handwashing, with Unilever, a founding member. The Public-Private Partnership was
created as an active effort to align with the United Nation’s Millennium Development Goals, in
particular Goal number 4, which aims to reduce child mortality across the world, including in
developing nations by 2015.

Lifebuoy will continue to engage with consumers to ensure that its commitment to the the
United Nation’s Millennium Development Goals will continue to influence children and adults
to instigate change in handwashing habits in the GCC and across the world.

About Global Handwashing Day

Initiated in 2008 by the Global Public-Private Partnership for Handwashing with Soap, Global
Handwashing Day is endorsed by a wide array of governments, international institutions, civil society
organizations, NGOs, private companies and individuals around the globe. For more information, please

Global Handwashing Day 2010 will revolve around schools and children as the centrepiece of a week of
activities that will mobilize millions of people in more than 80 countries across all five continents to wash
their hands with soap.

About Unilever

Unilever works to create a better future every day.  We help people feel good, look good and get more
out of life with brands and services that are good for them and good for others.

We are one of the world’s leading suppliers of fast moving consumer goods with strong local roots in
more than 100 countries. Our portfolio includes some of the world’s best known and most loved brands
including eleven €1 billion brands, and global leadership in many categories in which we operate. The
portfolio features iconic brands such as Knorr, Lipton, Flora, Dove, Axe, Lux, Sunsilk, Vaseline, Omo &

We have around 163,000 employees in approaching 100 countries, and generated annual sales of €40
billion in 2009. For more information about Unilever and its brands, please visit

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