New Delhi: In order to promote health and hygiene and raise awareness about good hygiene habits such as washing hands five times a day, using a toilet for defecation and adopting safe drinking water practices, a campaign has been launched recently.
Launched by Hindustan Unilever Limited (HUL), the 'Swachh Aadat Swachh Bharat' is in line with the government's Swachh Bharat Abhiyan (Clean India Mission). "Our campaign will influence people by encouraging them to adopt simple healthy habits that can prevent illnesses.
Our aim is to change the age old habits and practices," says Priya Nair, Executive Director Hindustan Unilever. "The Swachh Aadat, Swachh Bharat campaign was launched on December 4.
Given the scale of challenges that India faces in the areas of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), this programme is an effort to help India realise the goals of Clean India Mission by 2019," says Nair.
In 2012, UNICEF identified India with the highest number of child deaths from diarrhoea and pneumonia globally - with 609,000 children dying each year before their fifth birthday from these diseases. It also recognised that while up to 99 per cent of Indian households have soap - it is predominantly used to wash clothes, dishes and for bathing.
Hand washing rates among mothers across India are low and the rates are even lower for children. Billions of dollars are lost each year in wasted human potential, healthcare expenses and time spent seeking treatment for diseases associated with poor wash practices.
"Changing behaviours by itself, is a mammoth task and it necessitates as much investment and time as building infrastructure. So we devised this large scale behaviour program," says Nair.