Reckitt Benckiser partners with Save the Children to lower global death rate from diarrhea

PARSIPANNY, N.J. — Reckitt Benckiser, whose portfolio includes such brands as Clearasil, Mucinex and Lysol, is partnering with Save the Children to help drastically lower the global death rate of children younger than 5 years from diarrhea, a preventable illness, by 2020.

The "Healthier kids, Happier homes" global partnership, with an initial funding of $35.5 million, will combine RB's expertise in hygiene and health, innovative technology and consumer communication capabilities with Save the Children's expertise in delivering life-saving treatment.

Globally, diarrhea remains the second leading cause of death from a preventable disease among children younger than 5 years, behind pneumoniai. Nearly 1-in-10 child deaths — approximately 800,000 each year — is due to diarrhea caused by poor home environments, inadequate personal hygiene and lack of access to essential services, such as healthcare, sanitation, clean water and basic nutrition.

By developing new, innovative products, for example a low cost "de-germer," RB aims to support mass reach hand-hygiene campaigns and create safer home environments for babies and children, helping families to live healthier and happier lives. In addition to providing expertise, RB is committing to a multimillion dollar investment to achieve its vision by 2020, and involving its 36,000 employees around the world in the initiative.

"At an unacceptable rate, children in the developing world are dying from completely preventable diseases, like diarrhea. We have already made dramatic progress in reducing the number of children dying, but there is still much more that needs to be done. Through this exciting partnership with RB, we can combine our skills and transform the lives of thousands of the world's most vulnerable children," said Justin Forsyth, chief executive of Save the Children.

The "Healthier kids, Happier homes" global partnership will launch with two pilot projects in Nigeria and Pakistan, looking at embedding best behaviors and attitudes to health and hygiene, and to educate. This new phase of the global partnership continues to build on the ground-breaking projects already underway around the world. Since the partnership began in 2003, RB has helped Save the Children reach more than 1 million children.

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