Campaign to promote hand washing through social media


Actress and singer Chit Thu Wai gets behind a campaign to reduce mortality rates among under-fives

CELEBRITY Chit Thu Wai will be the face of a hand-washing social media campaign aimed at reducing under-five mortality rates in Myanmar.
The ‘Let’s join hands for child health’ campaign is being organised by Unilever, who is a member of the Global Public-Private Partnership for Handwashing with Soap (PPPHW), which established Global Handwashing Day in 2008.
Global Handwashing Day is also part of the company’s “help a child reach five” campaign and it will likely launch to coincide with Global Handwashing Day on 15 October.
Hand washing with soap is extremely effective and the most inexpensive way to prevent diarrhea and acute respiratory infections (ARI). Pneumonia, a major ARI, is the number one cause of mortality among children under five years old. Diarrhea and pneumonia together account for almost 3.5 million child deaths worldwide every year.
The child mortality rate in Myanmar in 2012 was 52 deaths per 1,000 live births and half of the 49,000 child deaths in the country in 2012 occurred within the first 28 days of life.
Members of the public can take part in the programme by clicking the Facebook “like” button and writing comments under Chit Thu Wai’s photo and status updates, which she will post in relation to the campaign on her own Facebook page.
Every “like” on the actress and singer’s Facebook page will amount to the donation of ten cakes of soap contributed by the Unilever, who manufactures the Lifebuoy brand of soap.
As the company’s brand ambassador, Chit Thu Wai said during a press conference yesterday that she will meet with members of the public who are judged to have written the best comment or suggestion about personal hygiene education.
The campaign has been carried out in partnership with the Ministry of Health since 2014 and it aims to reduce the death toll of under-fives in Myanmar by promoting the habit of regular hand washing, which is a key approach to disease prevention.
According to the Lancet journal, simple behavioural changes such as hand washing with soap can reduce childhood mortality rates related respiratory and diarrheal diseases by as much as 25 and 50 per cent respectively.
Chit Thu Wai will target more remote and rural areas to spread awareness, as hand washing habits are generally less common.—GNLM

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