How many times a day do you wash your hands? And how many times does your child wash theirs? It's probably around more than five for both, even if the latter involves some nagging, cajoling or bribery.
With a newborn at home, I wash my hands more than 20 times, which includes before nappy changes and after, and before preparing my breast pump equipment. It might sound a tad "obsessive" and while I'm certainly not a germaphobe, from research and stats that I get sent regularly, frequent hand washing with soap and water can reduce the number of illnesses and infections in children under five years old by at least 50 percent.
Also, the simple act of hand washing reduces the risk of getting a stomach bug by as much as 47 percent.
Every year however, diarrhoea kills 2.5 million children in the first 28 days of life. There are more than 2.5 million children in Africa alone who won’t reach the milestone age of five due to, in many cases, preventable illness such as diarrhoea and respiratory disease.
Tragically, babies are most vulnerable within the first 28 days after birth, and one out of three babies in Africa don’t survive this stage due to infections such as diarrhoea.
Even though it's Global Handwashing Day on Saturday (October 15), brands like Lifebuoy Soap are trying to shift that statistic on every other day too, as part of their #High5forHandwashing campaign. They run a neonatal programme to educate expectant moms on how to wash their hands with soap and water and how to increase newborn hygiene, and try get these babies to live beyond their fifth birthdays.
As part of the educational programme, Lifebuoy made a video of Eunice, a pregnant mom from Migori Kenya, which has the highest rate of newborn deaths in the country. Eunice is shown a video of her "future child" Sherry, who thanks her mom for doing awesome things for her, including washing her hands, and saving her life.
Eunice learns the importance of hand washing by "meeting" her future daughter, and it's a strong message. Rather than saying "wash your hands", Lifebuoy is saying "Picture your daughter beyond the age of five. It can happen if you're more careful and wash your hands with soap and water, along with all the other wonderful things you do".
You can watch the video here:
Lifebuoy's other programme, School of 5, teaches school kids the importance of washing hands with soap and water, especially before meals, after using the bathroom and during bathing (this is a good reminder for our own kids too).
If you're keen to see some of the other briliant Lifebuoy videos, click here. And if you're able to share one of them via Facebook or Twitter, an extra high five for you!