Save the Children will get £23.5m from multinational to fight diarrhoea

Consumer goods producer Reckitt Benckiser is extending its partnership with the charity to combat problem that kills 800,000 children a year

Save the Children's hygiene work
Save the Children's hygiene work

- This story was corrected on 25 April 2013; please see final paragraph

The consumer goods multinational Reckitt Benckiser has pledged to give Save the Children £23.5m by the end of 2015 to stop children dying from diarrhoea.

The charity today announced a new phase in its partnership with the company, which has been worth £11m to the charity since 2003 and has reached a million people through health and hygiene programmes in countries including India, Brazil, Indonesia and Zimbabwe.

As part of the new initiative, the company will be developing new products, including a low-cost hand sanitiser and enzyme technology that breaks down human waste.

The Healthier Kids, Happier Homes partnership will focus on preventing children under five dying from diarrhoea as part of their mutual vision to stop all children under five dying from preventable causes by 2020.

Diarrhoea is the world’s second biggest cause of death from a preventable disease among children under five, after pneumonia, the charity said. It is behind nearly one in 10 child deaths, or 800,000 a year.

Justin Forsyth, chief executive of Save the Children, said: "At an unacceptable rate, children in the developing world are dying from completely preventable diseases such as diarrhoea.

"Through this exciting partnership with Reckitt Benckiser, we can combine our skills and transform the lives of thousands of the world’s most vulnerable children."

Rakesh Kapoor, chief executive of Reckitt Benckiser, said: "Businesses such as RB have a responsibility beyond results and our larger role is to do more for the world. We want to make a difference by providing innovative solutions for healthier lives and happier homes.

"And our growing partnership with Save the Children will go some way towards creating lasting improvements in the health and hygiene of vulnerable children and families globally.

"Together, we want to help stop diarrhoea being one of the biggest causes of death in children. This is ambitious, but we believe that this is achievable with the knowledge and strength of our partnership."

- The story originally said that the funding would be provided over the next seven years, as the information from Save the Children indicated.

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