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'Give Soap a Chance' campaign reaches South Africa
A health campaign created by Hull and East Yorkshire NHS Hospitals Trust to cut down on infections in the community has been adopted in South Africa.
Beginning in 2009, Give Soap a Chance, which encourages people to wash their hands properly, has attracted widespread attention with requests for support stretching as far afield as Canada and India.
Now campaign DVDs, posters and leaflets are to be distributed through 'Makoya', a bi-weekly magazine that seeks to engage young people across the major South African towns of the far northern region of Limpopo.
Eileen Henderson, Assistant to Medical Director at Hull & East Yorkshire NHS Trust, who is responsible for running the campaign, explains:
"When we launched this campaign we couldn't have imagined how widespread it would become. To have it come to the attention of people in Africa is just amazing and shows that our message is reaching a global audience.
"The moment we got the request, we despatched the material. Now, we've received a message of thanks from Vincent Tshisevhe, the editor of Makoya, in Limpopo. Vincent has ambitious plans to use the campaign to reach local school children and has proposals to speak to the local education department in the near future. He said:
"I'm humbled by the fact that organisations such as ours still exist when it's the big things that matter the most. We take care of small but very important things in life. Even with limited resources we rise above those challenges and reach our targets.
"I can't thank the Trust enough for involving themselves in the dream I have for my country."
It is only 18 months since Hull & East Yorkshire NHS Trust, a national leader in tackling healthcare infections, launched Give Soap a Chance into the local community. In that short space of time, healthcare professionals estimate that tens of thousands of local people have benefited. Now, it is being promoted as a blueprint for tackling the spread of infections right across the country and beyond.
"From our own experience, we cannot stress what an effect this campaign has on infection rates in local communities when people take it to heart," continues Eileen Henderson. "That's why we have made the whole package widely available. There are so many people who are aware that this campaign works and they want to adopt it, wherever there is some momentum and a request for support, then we are happy to help."
Picture shows: Vincent Tshisevhe receives the Give Soap a Chance material in Limpopo, South Africa
23rd June 2011