Unilever partners with ‘doctHERs’ to improve healthcare access in Pakistan
doctHERs are the winners of the third Unilever Sustainable Living Young Entrepreneur Awards held earlier this year
Lahore – Lifebuoy and doctHERs have agreed to work together for the improvement of healthcare across Pakistan. This was announced during a ceremony held to mark the success of doctHERs who won the third ‘HRH The Prince of Wales Young Sustainability Entrepreneur Prize’, awarded by Unilever and the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership earlier this year.
doctHers aims to mobilise Pakistan’s non-practising female doctors as a means of providing sustainable access to primary and secondary healthcare in rural communities from the comfort of their homes through video consultation. Since May 2015, doctHERs has directly impacted 15,000 lives through clinical services, 100,000 lives indirectly through community outreach and, now employs fifteen doctors, five nurses and five specialists.
Lifebuoy is committed to saving lives through hand-washing and hygiene education in Pakistan. The partnership between Lifebuoy and doctHERs will enable increased outreach of quality healthcare by educating new mothers about simple disease prevention measures such as regular hand washing with soap. This aims to reduce the spread of neo-natal infections and the risks of diarrhoea and pneumonia in infants. Lifebuoy will also facilitate the increased reach of doctHERs’ clinics into far flung areas of the country.
Shazia Syed, Chairperson & CEO, Unilever Pakistan Limited, highlighted, “I congratulate doctHERs on their success at the Young Entrepreneur Awards and am delighted by their passion and determination for improving healthcare, which has brought accolades for Pakistan. The partnership between Lifebuoy and doctHERs is a means of supporting their initiative to bring qualified female doctors back into the workforce. This ambition aims to help the underserved population that are otherwise deprived of quality healthcare.”
Dr Sara Saeed, cofounder, doctHERs, highlighted, “doctHERs envisions to reach out to over 5000 communities devoid of quality healthcare. This effort aims at reaching marginalised communities to and create a quality change in the present healthcare system of Pakistan. The Young Entrepreneurs Award and our partnership with Lifebuoy will bring us closer to our ultimate vision of touching 8 million lives across the country.”
The Young Entrepreneurs Awards are part of Unilever’s efforts to support the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and celebrate inspirational entrepreneurs aged 35 and under who have developed a product, service or application that tackles some of the world’s biggest sustainability challenges. In 2015, 927 entrepreneurs entered the awards from 99 countries. doctHERs were selected as winners following a demanding interview process and an intensive accelerator programme to prepare finalists for the final pitch.
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ABOUT UNILEVER PAKISTAN
Unilever Pakistan is a subsidiary of Unilever Plc, which operates in over 100 countries. Established in Pakistan in 1948, the Pakistan business is amongst the country’s largest consumer goods companies. Unilever is also one of Pakistan largest taxpayers. Unilever’s brands such as Lux, Lifebuoy, Lipton, Sunsilk, Surf Excel and Wall’s are known for their consistently high quality & value and are trusted & consumed daily by millions of people across Pakistan. Unilever’s brands strive to create a better future every day for consumers across Pakistan. Lifebuoy reaches out to thousands of children through its hand washing campaign, raising standards of hygiene; Lux promotes film, fashion and music through the iconic Lux Style Awards; Sunsilk partners PFDC in the fashion weeks and Blue Band supports nutrition. As one of Pakistan’s most preferred employers, Unilever directly employs over 2000 people across the country, and indirectly contributes to the employment of many thousands through its nationwide sales and distribution network. The Unilever Sustainable Living Plan (USLP) provides the framework for Unilever’s ambition to double its business whilst reducing its environmental footprint and enhancing its positive social impact. In Pakistan, Unilever is engaged in a number of initiatives to enhance livelihoods, save water, energy, carbon emissions and to cut waste and promote recycling.
For more information about Unilever and its brands: www.unilever.pk
For more information on the USLP: www.unilever.pk/sustainable-living/
Each year, 1.7 million children don’t reach their fifth birthday due to diarrhoea and pneumonia. Over 40% of under-five deaths occur within the first 28 days of a child’s life, the neonatal period, accounting for nearly half of the 18,000 children under age five dying every day. Diarrhoea alone results in 3,000 children every day dying before their fifth birthday. Many of these deaths are easily preventable through a simple practice of washing hands with soap – one of the most effective and low cost ways to prevent diseases. To ensure sustainable living, we need to address the negligence involved in hand-washing.
Lifebuoy is committed to saving lives through hand-washing and hygiene education. Lifebuoy helps and inspires billions of consumers to make, hand-washing with soap, a habit. Lifebuoy aims to makes a positive difference in the world by working towards the improvement of health and hygiene. A simple act of hand-washing can result in a 41% lower mortality rate among new-borns.
Lifebuoy aims to strengthen its mission by partnering with DoctHers and work towards improving health and hygiene standards in semi-urban/rural areas. With this partnership we aim to touch more lives and inculcate the habit of hand washing from the birth of a child. Till date, Lifebuoy has reached 357 million people in 24 countries with its hand-washing behaviour programmes, and by 2020 it strives to change the hand-washing behaviour of one billion people.
doctHERs converts existing community spaces into walk-in clinics. Patients attending the clinics are assessed by nurses or community health workers recruited by doctHERs and connected to female doctors online using state-of-the-art telemedicine software ‘MDconsults”. The technology uses video alongside peripheral diagnostic instruments operated by nurses in the clinic and attached to the telemedicine system to diagnose patients remotely.