Unilever collaborates with DHA on Global Hand Washing Day

Dubai –Unilever, one of the world’s leading FMCG companies and owner of global brands such as Dove and Lifebuoy,helditsinaugural Health Summit 2014 on Wednesday, October 15th 2014, in collaboration with the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) on the occasion of Global Handwashing Day.The summit took place at Dubai’s Conrad Hotel, Sheikh Zayed Road.

Region’sfirst summit on hygiene’s role in ctionsctious disease prevention launches action plan under the title “Hand in Hand Against Infection”

Held under the title “Hand in Hand Against Infection”, the Health Summit 2014is part of Unilever’s missionof raising awareness around the importance of handwashing and its role in saving lives. The summit is one of many activities that Unilever organizes for the Global Handwashing Day, which the company, through its Lifebuoy brand, and UNICEF co-founded in 2008.

The event represented the region’s first meeting of minds to discuss the importance of hygiene in preventing deadly but preventable infectious disease, and is part of Unilever’s global efforts to tackle disease through hygiene behavioural changes in collaboration with international partners.

Speakers at the summit included Dr Lisa Ackerley, senior behaviour change specialist and trainer at The Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH), Dr Medhat Abu-Shaaban, Consultant Paediatrician & Allergy Specialist at my Pediaclinic, and Dr. Ahmed Mohamed SalehAbdou Consultant Physician - Head of Infection Control Office at Dubai Health Authority. Unilever was represented by Ms. Sabeen Fazli, Marketing Director for PC, Unilever Gulf.

“Simple hygiene measures, such as hand washing with soap, are incredibly effective and inexpensive ways to prevent diarrhoea and acute respiratory infections, particularly in children, especially with the fact that these diseases account for almost 3.5 million child deaths annually. The Health Summit 2014 is part of Unilever’s efforts to improve regional and global health through simple, effective measures,” said Sabeen Fazli, Marketing Director for PC, Unilever Gulf.

Unilever Signs MoU with Dubai Health Authority

Unilever believes that through brands like Lifebuoy, it can help and inspire billions of consumers to take small everyday actions like handwashing with soap, that can add up to a big difference for the world. As per the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan, the company aims to help over a billion people globally take action to improve their health and well-being by 2020 through key actions and behavioural changes like regular handwashing with soap.

In the UAE, Unilever has joined forces with the Dubai Health Authority at the Health Summit 2014, which kicked off with the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to combat infectious disease and help improve the health and wellbeing of people in the UAE. The moUwas signed by Al Anood Abdulsalam Obaid Doei, Head of Branding & Communication Management at Dubai Health Authority and Sabeen Fazli, Marketing Director for PC, Unilever Gulf.

The speakers delivered powerful keynotesdiscussingthe health initiatives in the region as well as presenting case studies about initiatives that positively impacted the health scene in the region. The summit also hosted a workshop and announced an action plan summarizing the direction and the activities that the involved parties should undertake in order to achieve the set targets.

Ghanim Lootah, Director of Marketing and Communications at the DHA, said: “The DHA is pleased to partner with Unilever to raise awareness about hand hygiene. Hand hygiene in a healthcare setting and in the community is an essential step to prevent the spread of infections. Our aim is to reach out to the community through this campaign and educate people about how important hand-washing is in prevention of infections.”

Unilever’s behavioural change program

“The risk of infectious diseases, particularly for children, can’t be overstated. 40 percent of under-5 deaths occur in the first 28 daysof life, and handwashing with soap is one of the most cost-effective ways to prevent diseases like diarrhoea and pneumonia, which contribute massively to child mortality. 18,000 children die every single day without seeing their fifth birthday, and Unilever is determined to address this issue in collaboration with global partners,” Fazli added.

In South Asia and Africa, Unilever is working to support the Millennium Development Goal of reducing child mortality by two thirds by 2015. The company has joined forces with USAID to mainstream handwashing with soap amongst mothers to combat child mortality.

“Simple behavioural changes can result in hygiene improvements that can save thousands of lives. Everyone can help spread awareness by telling friends and family about the importance of regularly washing their hands with soap. It’s an important, lifesaving habit,” concluded Fazli.

About Unilever

Unilever is one of the world’s leading suppliers of fast moving consumer goods. More than 2 billion consumers worldwide use Unilever products on any given day, buying 170 billion units of our product range. More than 173 000 people work for Unilever all over the world. In 2013 Unilever generated annual sales of €49.8 billion.

Our portfolio includes foods, ice cream and beverages, personal care and household care products. Unilever has more than 400 brands, 15 of which generate sales in excess of €1 billion a year. Unilever is Number 1 and 2 in more than 80% of the business.

Unilever is aiming to double in size whilst reducing its environmental impact, working to create a better future everyday by helping people to feel good, look good and get more out of life with its brands and services. For more information about Unilever and its brands, please visit www.unilever.com(Link opens in a new window)

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