Dettol South Africa has donated R1 million towards the building of a Centre for Childhood Infectious Diseases at the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital.
In a press conference to announce the donation, the issue of childhood mortality was discussed as a serious issue. Globally approximately 21,000 children under the age of five died every day in 2010, equating to 7.6 million]children or more than 20 deaths every five seconds. In South Africa, 5.7% of all live births, or one in every 17 newborns, resulted in death in 2010.
The vast majority of deaths in children under five can be attributed to a handful of communicable diseases such as acute respiratory infections (colds, flu and ear infections) and diarrhoea. Tragically, while the majority of these deaths are preventable, childhood mortality rates in South Africa remain high.
Louse Driver CEO of the Children’s Hospital Trust, fundraiser for the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital, said the donation would have a significant impact on the hospital and 100% of the donation from Dettol South Africa to the Children’s Hospital Trust will go towards the building of a Centre of Childhood Infectious Diseases at the Hospital.
“To continue its impact on the survival of children in Southern Africa, the Hospital needs to build a Centre for Childhood Infectious Diseases from which the Paediatric Infectious Diseases Unit (PIDU) and the Clinical Research Unit (CRU) can conduct research, consult, collaborate and treat thousands of children desperately ill with HIV, TB and Malaria,” said Driver.
Hygiene a key issue
Professor Shaheen Mehtar,Chair of Infection Control Africa Network (ICAN).was also at the event and highlighted the importance of hygiene in the prevention of the spread of disease and reduction in childhood mortality rates.
“Key to addressing and reducing South Africa’s high childhood mortality rates is the establishment of specialised treatment units that provide comprehensive care to children suffering from these infectious diseases. In addition, there is an urgent need for a large-scale public awareness education and awareness drive that teaches South Africans that their hygiene has a direct bearing on their health and that poor hygiene kills,” she said.
Dettol’s donation follows the launch of the company’s global and national Health for More Life initiative at the Bathokwa Primary School in Saulsvilleon 27 March 2012. Health for More Life is aimed at raising awareness of the link between improved hygiene habits and the reduced transmission of infectious diseases.
“Given South Africa’s high under-five childhood mortality rate, we are hoping that the initiative will support government’s Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) of decreasing South Africa’s child mortality rate to 2% by 2015 . The donation in aid of the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital today serves as further intensification of our efforts in this regard,” says Francesco Fattori, senior vice president of Reckitt Benckiser Africa, owner of brand Dettol.
(Health24, March 2012)
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