PHASE in Brazil
PHASE in Brazil
Every year around 3.5 million children worldwide do not live to celebrate their fifth birthday because of diarrhoea and pneumonia. Simply washing hands with soap before eating and after using the toilet is one of the most effective and least expensive ways of preventing diarrhoea and pneumonia, and could save more lives than any single vaccine or medical intervention.
Global Handwashing Day
Groups across the globe come together each October to recognise Global Handwashing Day. Established in 2001 as a public-private alliance, the partnership aims to give families, schools, and communities in developing countries the power to prevent diarrhea and respiratory infections by supporting the universal promotion and practice of proper handwashing with soap at critical times. The aim is to explicitly to promote handwashing with soap and recognises that hygiene, sanitation, and water are pillars of development.
Within GSK, our own initiative - PHASE (Personal Hygiene and Sanitation Education) was established in 1998. This programme aims to teach children about the importance of handwashing, personal hygiene, water and waste sanitation. We complement this hygiene education with investment in improvements to local water pipes, pumps and other infrastructure. Since launch, we have invested £6 million across 16 countries worldwide, reaching over 1.5 million children.
PHASE in action
Our work in Brazil in 2011 is typical of the PHASE work we take part in to mark Global Handwashing Day. Brazil has the world's seventh wealthiest economy and is the largest country in both area and population in Latin America and the Caribbean. Despite its wealth however, inequality and poverty are at relatively high levels for a middle-income country.
In the slum areas of Rio de Janeiro, we work in partnership to improve the health of elementary and high school children, as well as their teachers, parents and the wider communities living in these Favelas.
In 2011 around 100 Brazilian students were involved in a special workshop to celebrate the occasion. As well as learning good hygiene habits at the workshop, the students also received Hand Washing Kits to help them teach their new good habits at home.
In its first year in Brazil – PHASE reached over 1,000 elementary and high school age pupils in the first six months of 2010: more than double the initial goal. In the schools PHASE reached, there were fewer incidents of some infectious diseases. For example, two of the schools reported reduced cases of TB by 7.4% and 25.7% and of viral hepatitis by 33.3% and 29.1%.