Government receives massive Covid-19 donation to help millions at state health clinics

Dettol donates 400 handwash stations and a million bars of soap to promote proper hygiene practices

Johannesburg, South Africa, 03 September 2020 – Dettol has donated 400 handwash stations and a million bars of soap to be used at public health facilities around the country. South Africa’s leading and trusted hygiene and handwashing brand recognises that these items are crucial in the fight against the Coronavirus pandemic. Deputy Health Minister, Dr Joe Phaahla, officially received the donation, saying that it’s widely recognised that scaling up hygiene measures is a key intervention to prevent and minimise the spread of the virus amongst populations around the world. He added, “We are aware that water scarcity and lack of proper hygiene in facilities pose a major challenge in some of our health care facilities. Thus, these mobile stations are one of innovative measures designed to provide potable hand washing equipment where they are needed most. Primary health care facilities in districts identified as hot spots and areas without adequate hygiene facilities will benefit from this donation. 

Dettol has already begun delivery of the stations and soap directly to public health clinics countrywide. The initiative forms part of the Dettol Protects the Frontline campaign, which was launched in partnership with the National Department of Health, the Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and Western Cape Departments of Health, and healthcare impact company, Triple Eight. 

Acting Gauteng MEC for Health, Jacob Mamabolo, acknowledged the importance of public–private partnerships, and hopes that they will strengthen with time, “I’d like to say to Triple Eight and Dettol that I’m going to assure you that none of the donations you are making to us will be missed in anyway or disappear or be unaccounted for. So, we’re promoting clean governance, clean administration, accountability, ethics and moral leadership as demanded by our country’s constitution and the laws that it creates. So, all this will be accounted for, and I guess that’s the reason why our province remains the destination of donations, and that’s because we uphold these very good values.”   

Dettol and Triple Eight’s campaign, with the support of government, aims to help health workers in the firing line in the battle against Covid-19 and focuses on hand hygiene behavioural change. 

Kunal Sahgal, Dettol Marketing Director, Africa, says, “We know that handwashing with soap and clean water is the first line of defence against Covid-19 and many 

other communicable diseases. In addition to the government, health and hygiene companies like Reckitt Benckiser have had an important role to play in ensuring 

access to and availability of soaps, sanitisers, and disinfectants to help communities protect themselves.”

South Africa has been severely impacted by the pandemic, which has claimed over 14 000 lives. There are just over 72 000 active cases from a total of over 625 000 confirmed cases. 

The Dettol foot-pump handwashing stations includae step-by-step instructions for correct handwashing with soap and clean water and will be placed at clinic entrances, where handwashing will be mandatory before entry. Together with the million bars of soap, this intervention will help approximately 200 000 individuals in public health facilities in South Africa each day. They will have better access to hygiene education and protection from the virus and other infectious diseases, like diarrhoea. Dr Susan Louw, Dettol Spokesperson and Pathologist at the National Health Laboratory Service, explains, “Communicable diseases, including Covid-19 and diarrhoea, are transmitted by a failure to practise basic hygiene. Research shows that washing hands with soap and water is one of the most effective ways to prevent communicable diseases and can reduce diarrhoea deaths by more than 40%.” 

Dettol soaps have been tested and proven to be effective against the Covid-19 virus. This is not the first intervention by the company. Sarika Modi, Triple Eight MD, says “Over the past eight years, Dettol has partnered with us in a series of school and clinic programmes, with the full support of the Department of Health, in an effort to reduce preventable deaths from hygiene-related illnesses and to give families the gift of better health.”

Another ongoing campaign is the Dettol New Mum Programme, which has, to date, reached over 3 million mothers in public clinics in SA, giving them access to lifesaving hygiene and handwashing education. Dettol has also donated over 3 million bars of soap to help kickstart better practices in the home, at a time when good hygiene is critical to taking care of their new-born babies. The programme has also created jobs for previously unemployed mums who are trained as health workers.

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