In a study done by the Philippine Handwashing Index, Filipinos still do not practice proper hand washing habits. Filipinos have an average of 50 unique touches per day, yet they only wash their hands five times a day. The study also shows that majority of Filipinos do not wash their hands after coughing, sneezing, using the toilet, or taking public transportation. This is a cause for concern as handwashing has been demonstrated to protect people, especially children, from germs and microbes that cause common illnesses such as diarrhea and pneumonia.
Furthermore, Mindanao is one of the regions that posted the highest poverty incidence in the country based on the data from the 2015 Family Income and Expenditure Survey (FIES) released by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA). This results to lesser access to quality health care and inadequacy of health information and health education system in the region.
The partnership aims to make school children understand and practice correct handwashing techniques using an effective antibacterial soap. Pupils were also given bars of Safeguard, which has been proven to remove 99% of disease-causing germs. Following the cascading of information, handwashing and absenteeism was monitored regularly by respective homeroom teachers. The data collection ran from March 11 to 29, 2019.
Amazingly, absenteeism went down within a month after the handwashing program started. Based on the tracking reports, fewer students were absent during the period, supporting global findings showing the link between handwashing and improved school attendance. This is exactly what Safeguard aspires for in its efforts to help prevent absenteeism among students, due to illnesses caused by germs.
“The best way to safeguard the health and well-being of children is through education. We would like more school children to develop handwashing as a regular habit so that they would get sick less often and miss less school days. Through this partnership with HOPE, we are hopeful that we can reduce absenteeism among school children in Mindanao, an important step to let them make the most out of school,” said Clarence Lim, Country Category Leader for Safeguard.
Over the years, Safeguard has been advocating proper handwashing habits and techniques among Filipinos, especially among children. With the promising initial results of the program in Mindanao, Safeguard is hopeful that the children will imbibe proper and frequent handwashing habit for life, which will not only lessen illnesses that cause absenteeism, but will keep them on the road to better health and better nation-builders.
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HOPE is the 1st Philippine company to donate 100% of its profits to the building of public school classrooms. Launched in 2012, our missions were simple, to allow Filipinos to choose another way– to vote with their peso about what is important to them. Today we have built classrooms housing 14,000 students across the country and work closely with donors, brand partners and retailers, who like us, believe in the power of Business for Good.