In the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic, UNAIDS and Reckitt Benckiser Group plc (RB) are joining forces to help protect people living with HIV across Africa. Working through the UNAIDS network, the partnership hopes to reach approximately 220,000 individuals across 22 countries in Africa with a Hygiene pack that contains a three-month supply of Dettol bar soap and JIK bleach. The market value of these products is around R 42 million.

The initiative to distribute the hygiene packs is part of its “Fight for Access Fund”, which aims to improve access to health, hygiene and nutrition for all.

“Reckitt Benckiser’s purpose is to protect, heal and nurture in the relentless pursuit of a cleaner, healthier world,” says Russell Taylor, Regional Director Africa, Health, for Reckitt Benckiser. “We want and need to play our part in stemming the effects of the pandemic and we can do this by providing access to our high-quality hygiene products – 2 million bars of Dettol soap & 672k bottles of JIK bleach. By partnering with UNAIDS, we can reach specific groups of people who need them the most. We have a long-standing commitment to the Global Fund, UNAIDS and RED to combat HIV and AIDS and this latest commitment is in addition to our current Durex partnership that will help keep 40k girls in South Africa to continue their education.”

“UNAIDS will be working closely with communities and networks of people living with HIV at a country level in the coming weeks to facilitate distribution of the hygiene packs from RB. As we continue to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic in this region, it is important that communities lead and that we put people at the centre,” said Aeneas Chuma, Director of the UNAIDS RST ESA.

In South Africa, an estimated 7.7m people are living with HIV. Dr Susan Louw, a pathologist at the National Health Laboratory Service (NHLS) described the Reckitt Benckiser/UNAIDS partnership as “an amazing and very worthwhile initiative as many people living with HIV, which results in immune suppression, are now also ageing and/or have other health conditions, including Tuberculosis and chronic heart or lung disease, that are known to make people susceptible to more severe COVID-19” she says. “So, if we can improve hygiene and hygiene routines in a community with an initiative like this, it can definitely improve the outcome of communicable diseases like COVID 19.”

For more information on RB’s ‘Fight for Access Fund’ visit their website HERE…

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