Unilever Ghana Limited has, through its Lifebuoy Soap, commemorated this year’s Global Handwashing Day with a handwashing festival at the Independence Square in Accra.
Each year, Lifebuoy commemorates the day, which is observed on October 15, by calling on people to inculcate the habit of washing hands with soap under running water.
Dubbed “High5 for handwashing- Give us a high5 and we’ll teach 5 kids handwashing”, the objective of the handwashing festival was to teach one million children in the country, the proper way of washing hands.
A statement issued by Unilever Ghana said it was also aimed at heightening awareness about Lifebuoy’s commitment to handwashing with soap under running water before breakfast, lunch, dinner, after visiting the toilet and during daily bath.
Mr Yeo Ziobeieton, the Managing Director of Unilever Ghana Limited in his welcome remarks said the company finds it worrying that although people around the world clean their hands with water, very few use soap to wash their hands.
“Even when soap is available, it is sometimes reserved for laundry and bathing instead of for handwashing. Washing hands with soap removes germs much more effectively than doing so with only water”, he emphasized.
Lifebuoy has over the years raised social consciousness in relation to adopting hygienic behaviours that promote human sustainability.
Mr. Ziobeieton therefore encouraged Ghanaians to share their High5s with Lifebuoy using #high5forhandwashingGh.
The Managing Director of Unilever Ghana said “the Unilever Ghana Foundation, recently handed over seven newly constructed hygiene stations to selected basic schools within the Tema metropolis at a total cost of GH¢800,000.00.
It is estimated that over 3,800 pupils and an additional 6,500 community members would benefit from the facilities. This is another initiative by Unilever to help enhance sanitation and hygiene needs of Ghanaians”, Mr. Ziobeieton said.
Mrs Rebecca Akufo-Addo, the First Lady who was the guest of honour noted that, the significance of children’s hands to their health and for that matter their future cannot be overemphasized. ‘Children use their hands to pick, lift, touch, hold, smear and fix things.
In the process, their hands come into contact with all manner of germs, which can be dangerous to their health if ingested”, she said.
She used the occasion to dispel the long held belief that African germs don’t kill saying, “a visit to our CHPS compounds, health centers, clinics and hospitals gives an indication of the health implications of ignorantly swallowing that seemingly harmless dirt on a child’s hands”.
Mrs. Akufo-Addo emphasized that handwashing with soap is a “do it yourself vaccine” that prevents infections and saves lives and urged all Ghanaians to make it a habit.
The event brought together about 2500 children and dignitaries from the Ministries of Education, Health, Gender, Children and Social Protection as well as Water Resources and Sanitation. It was also used to set two Guinness World Records on handwashing with soap.
Unilever Ghana was established in 1992 through the merger of UAC Ghana and Lever Brothers and is listed on the Ghana Stock Exchange.
“Over 5 million households in Ghana enjoy our brands every day and we indirectly employ some 2,000 people in supply, marketing and distribution as well as the 400 staff who work in our Headquarters and Tema factory.
We produce some of the leading home and personal care products on the Ghanaian market in our Tema factory and support the health, nutrition and wellbeing of the people of Ghana with iconic brands such as Blue Band margarine, Lipton tea, Key soap, Omo washing powder and Pepsodent toothpaste, together with household brand names like Lux, Geisha, Rexona and Annapurna.”
“Lifebuoy is a brand of soap produced by Unilever. Lifebuoy was originally, and for much of its history, a carbolic soap containing phenol (carbolic acid, a compound extracted from coal tar). Lifebuoy’s unique formulations and antibacterial ingredients in all its products make it superior to all other ordinary soaps, giving 100 per cent better germ protection. Good health, protection from most skin germs and control of body odour make up the core objectives of the brand.