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Health and wellbeing

This issue relates to the following Sustainable Development Goals

Through our WASH behaviour change programmes, over 154 million Indians have benefited so far.

Our soaps and household cleaning solutions can help prevent disease, and so through our brands we are tackling the barriers that often hold people back. HUL’s brands such as Lifebuoy and Domex are leading impactful programmes on the importance of health and hygiene.

Handwashing with soap saves lives

Image of a school boy advocating handwashing

Around 0.9 million children under the age of five die due to diarrhoeal and respiratory diseases in India, making them significant contributors to child mortality. Handwashing with soap is one of the most cost-effective solutions to improve health and hygiene, protect against illness and reduce infant mortality.

Several study reviews show that the simple act of handwashing with soap reduces the incidence of diarrhoeal diseases by an average of 30%.

From 2010 to December 2021, we reached out to over 74 million people in India through handwashing behaviour change initiatives. These initiatives help promote the benefits of handwashing at key times during the day and encourage people to adopt and sustain good handwashing behaviour.

Our on-ground behaviour change programmes in partnership with the GAVI Alliance (Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation), Project Hope, Bharat Scout and Guide, Naman Seva Samiti, NGOs in Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, and Maharashtra, have helped improve the handwashing habits of many people.

Digital healthcare solutions

Lifebuoy partnered with two of India’s largest players in the Telehealth space, Practo for the urban audience and Reliance Jio to reach the Tier 2 cities and rural audience.

Lifebuoy’s symbiotic partnership with Practo supports consumers by providing a telehealth service. The consumers can give a missed call on a toll-free number and receive an SMS link for one-time free doctor consultation. In May 2021, we went live in India’s most populous, and COVID-19 affected state, Uttar Pradesh, and the central Indian state, Chhattisgarh with an aim to reach nearly 40 million people. In the first two weeks, we serviced 6,000 missed calls.

The Lifebuoy Telehealth Program – Mobile Doctorni, is the first-of-its-kind AI-enabled video bot. Lifebuoy has partnered with expert doctors and Reliance Jio to create a revolutionary telehealth ecosystem. The panel of expert doctors have helped create responses to more than 7000 questions. This service is a perfect on-demand solution and understands 28 different local dialects covering a wide range of health concerns from regular infections to COVID-19.

Global Handwashing Day - ‘H for Handwashing’

Each year on 15th October, millions of people worldwide celebrate Global Handwashing Day (GHD). In 2021, the Ministry of Education endorsed the campaign and issued a letter to departments of education across states. The Government of Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Punjab have participated by conducting handwashing workshops in schools as a part of their back-to-school activities. Lifebuoy launched its first-ever children’s Alphabet Book, authored by Ruskin Bond which is being used as a learning resource across Government and Government-aided schools.

We conducted the Lifebuoy School Program in over 600 schools (public-private) reaching more than 40,000 students and 5,000 teachers.

Sanitation, hygiene, and access to safe drinking water

Domex Toilet Academy

According to the World Health Organisation, around half the people in the world are in danger of disease because they do not have access to a clean, safe toilet.

We believe access to good hygiene and sanitation should be a basic human right for everyone. So, what are we doing about it?

Improving access to sanitation

Domex, our Home and Hygiene brand, expanded its product offering to professional spaces and businesses as we gradually unlock from the pandemic. Product donations to key institutions like municipal corporations, hospitals and schools were made to improve the overall hygiene standards. Domex also worked with the MCGM to disinfect public spaces identified by the civic bodies in respective wards in Mumbai. Around 2 lakh Domex disinfectant products were donated towards various disinfection drive initiatives.

Swachh Aadat, Swachh Bharat (SASB) programme

Clean India Mission

India faces significant challenges in the areas of water, sanitation, and hygiene.

Our ‘Swachh Aadat, Swachh Bharat’ programme is in line with the Government of India’s ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyan (Clean India Mission)’ to promote good health and hygiene practices. In 2021, the programme continued to promote these practices by stressing the need to adopt three clean habits:

  1. Washing hands five times a day.
  2. Using a toilet for defecation.
  3. Adopting safe drinking water practices.

Swachh Aadat Curriculum

We have created the Swachh Aadat Curriculum to teach children in classes 1-5 the importance of adopting these three clean habits, over a 21-day period.

The textbook version of the curriculum has been rolled out in government schools across Bihar, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Uttarakhand and Haryana.

In the absence of in-school learning, we pivoted our existing model to digital and adapted the WASH curriculum into 21 interactive animated videos. The digital version of the curriculum was piloted in Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, and Delhi with organisations such as Diksha (Government of Maharashtra), Million Sparks, and Save the Children India. It taught primary school students the importance of hygiene in these unprecedented times, in an interesting manner.

Project Suvidha

‘Suvidha’ is first-of-its-kind urban water, hygiene and sanitation community centre, that was first set up in Ghatkopar, one of the largest slums in Mumbai. It provides drinking water, sanitation, handwashing, shower facilities, and laundry services at an affordable cost. The centre uses circular economy principles to reduce water use. It was built in partnership with the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai, Pratha Samajik Sanstha, and United Way Mumbai.

During the year, HUL launched its biggest Suvidha centre in Dharavi, Mumbai. This is one of the largest community toilets in India. We have built seven Suvidha centres in Mumbai in partnership with HSBC India to give people access to clean water, sanitation and laundry facilities.

The centres cumulatively serve over 200,000 women, children, men, and people with disability every year, and save over 35 million* litres of water every year through rainwater harvesting and wastewater treatment at the centres.

* Based on estimations for all seven Suvidha centres

Supporting self-esteem and wellbeing

A lack of confidence impacts self-esteem, and this, hinders girls and women from reaching their full potential in their career, future, and health.

Dove self-esteem programme

Our mission is to ensure the next generation grows up to enjoy a positive relationship with the way they look to reach their full potential. We are helping young people to build positive body confidence and self-esteem.

This is the world’s largest self-esteem education project that strives to create a world for the youth to grow up feeling confident and empowered to love themselves, no matter what.

For more than 15 years, we have been helping young people with self-esteem education, reaching over 69 million lives globally in 150 countries. In India, we have been working with partners such as Fountainhead and WAGGGs and have reached out to over 1.7 million young people from 2014 to 2020.

In 2019, at Women Deliver, the largest conference on the Health and Rights of Girl and Women, Dove and UNICEF* announced their partnership to provide self-esteem education to young people globally with a view to reach 10 million lives across 3 countries (India, Indonesia and Brazil). In India, the body confidence education material is committed to empowering 6.25 million young people across 8 states by 2024, out of the 10 million lives.
*** UNICEF does not endorse any company, brand, product, or service.

Asha Daan

Launched in 1976 in Mumbai, we supported Mother Teresa and the Missionaries of Charity to set up Asha Daan – a home for the abandoned, challenged, HIV-positive, and the needy. We continue to maintain the premises to date. At any given point of time, we take care of more than 350 people including infants, men and women, and HIV-positive patients.

Currently, we are working towards re-developing the home to provide them with better facilities.

COVID-19 relief work

The COVID-19 pandemic has been one of the biggest challenges faced by the world. As a Company driven by purpose, HUL stands united with India. After announcing our commitment of INR 100 crores to help the nation fight COVID-19 during the first wave, significant work has been carried out by our teams to help combat the situation. We continued with our efforts in the second and third wave to ensure that we overcome this global health crisis together.

Medical & Health support

Taking the learnings from 2020, we collaborated with medical institutions and Government(s) to strengthen health infrastructure in COVID-19 hotspots. In response to the severe shortage of medical oxygen and to reduce the pressure on healthcare infrastructure, we airlifted over 5,500 oxygen concentrators from across the world. Under Mission HO2PE, oxygen concentrators were made available in the most impacted areas in the country. In partnership with KVN Foundation and Portea Medical through which we delivered oxygen concentrators to COVID-19 patients at home through a borrow-use-return model.

In 2021, HUL donated over 50 ventilators to address the severe strain on medical facilities in certain areas. To support communities around some of our manufacturing locations, we partnered with the local administration in establishing isolation facilities or COVID-19 care wards. Additionally, through Project Prabhat, our sustainable community development programme, we set up telemedicine centres near some of our factory locations to enable affordable and accessible healthcare for rural communities.

Creating public awareness

To drive awareness of COVID-19 prevention in communities, we and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) partnered for a new public service campaign called ‘It’s In Your Hands’. The campaign made a humble appeal to the people, asking them to play their part in fighting the virus by practising proper hygiene, wearing a mask in the right way, maintaining social distancing, getting vaccinated and washing hands with any soap.