Tagged: global public private partnership for handwashing

  • An interconnected approach to improving handwashing behaviors

    Each year on Global Handwashing Day, hundreds of millions of people around the world gather to celebrate the power of handwashing with soap to save lives. This day also provides an opportunity to consider the current status of the hygiene sector and catalyze further action. As we look toward the future of hygiene behavior change, we need to ensure that we are maximizing the broader topic of integrated development and fully considering its relationship to hygiene.

    Integrated development, which can be defined in many different ways, is increasingly being discussed within the international development community, and FHI 360 plays an active role in convening this conversation. I recently had the opportunity, on behalf of the Global Public–Private Partnership for Handwashing (PPPHW), to attend an event hosted by FHI 360 titled Does 1+1=3? Proving the Integration Hypothesis, which brought together expert panelists from academia, government, donors and nongovernmental organizations.

    I took away many key learnings from this event, but the one that stuck with me most is this: If we hope to move the needle on the most entrenched development challenges, we need to consider the benefits that could be offered by combining services or sectors.

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  • Simple, but lifesaving: Handwashing with soap

    Did you know that an everyday item in your home has the potential to save the lives of hundreds of thousands of children each year? Soap, when used at critical times such as after using the bathroom or before preparing food, can reduce the risk of diarrheal disease by nearly half and cut the risk of upper respiratory infections, such as pneumonia, by nearly a quarter. While these illnesses may seem like a normal part of childhood, they cause 1.7 million child deaths each year.

    Unlike many solutions to the world’s development challenges, handwashing with soap is simple. It does not require any special skills or equipment, and it is within the economic reach of communities everywhere. In fact, handwashing with soap is the most cost-effective intervention to prevent diarrheal disease. However, making handwashing with soap a habit remains a challenge around the world.

    Today, the world celebrates Global Handwashing Day, which is an opportunity to promote and advocate for handwashing with soap. As the Secretariat Coordinator of the Global Public–Private Partnership for Handwashing, FHI 360 plays a unique role in moving this agenda forward by linking clinical knowledge about behavior change and hygiene promotion to practitioners in the field. Increasing knowledge sharing and collaboration is a necessity if we hope to eradicate preventable childhood deaths.

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  • The power of public–private partnerships in tackling global health challenges

    This week, GBCHealth will bring together some of the most prominent private-sector leaders in the world to discuss strategies for tackling pressing global health challenges. This year’s GBCHealth conference will focus on how business can better align its work with the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The fourth MDG is to reduce mortality for children under 5 years old. The biggest threats to young children are pneumonia and diarrheal diseases, which are the cause of nearly 2 million deaths a year in children under 5 years old. The good news is that there is a simple way to prevent much of the spread of these two diseases: handwashing. And the private sector has been on the forefront of promoting handwashing in developing countries for more than a decade.

    In 2000, I co-founded the Global Public–Private Partnership for Handwashing along with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and the World Bank/ Water and Sanitation Program. Today, FHI 360 operates the secretariat for the partnership, and our membership has expanded to include Procter & Gamble, Unilever, Colgate-Palmolive, the University of Buffalo, the World Health Organization, the U.S. Agency for International Development, and the United Nations Children’s Fund. Each member of our partnership contributes financial resources, skills or time.

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