JOHNSON’S Baby Launches The Healthy Skin Project
JOHNSON’S Baby, the global consumer brand, has launched a bold and inspiring project in South Africa that will improve the health of more than 3 million babies by 2020.
Healthy skin for healthier babies
Whilst we all love the softness of babies’ skin, most of us don’t realise that this amazing organ acts as the first line of defence against infection. Small babies have developing immune systems, and skin plays a very important role in shielding them from germs and disease.1 However, babies’ skin is more vulnerable than adult skin because it is 30% thinner2 and loses moisture 2 x faster.3 It needs very special care.
Why healthy skin matters
There is a lack of consumer education on optimal skincare for babies, which is fueled by many cultural beliefs and myths, resulting in behaviours and product choices that are not rooted in science, and negatively impact on skin health in babies.
Traditional baby skincare routines include, amongst others, using an adult bar1 of soap, adding antiseptic liquid to the water, or scrubbing with a sponge many times a day. 4, 5 This means that the baby’s skin barrier is compromised and irritated by the harsh cleansers.6
Poor socio-economic conditions make skin problems more difficult to confront. Babies are more exposed to the elements, and conditions like dry itchy skin can get out of control, letting in bacteria that will impact negatively on a baby’s health as it grows.7
The plight of millions of mothers
According to the SA Health Review 2013, there are 29 public sector medical practitioners to every 100 000 people (on average), nationally (these statistics are worse in some districts). There are only 141 public sector professional nurses to every 100 000 people on average, nationally.
This means there are only 12 508 medical practitioners and only 59 890 professional nurses assisting these medical practitioners to serve the needs of the South African population.7
Ordinary South African mothers feel the effects of this. They are having to walk many miles carrying their unwell babies to the nearest government clinic, only to find they are unlikely to be seen that day. This is yet another reason why skin problems, which are seen as non-life threatening, are going untreated.
How JOHNSON’S Baby is making a difference
Knowing that healthy skin is critical to the development of healthier babies and with a common goal, JOHNSON’S® Baby has launched The Johnson’s Baby Healthy Skin Project, in partnership with Unjani Clinics.
The Johnson’s Baby Healthy Skin Project aims to achieve the following:
- Give thousands of mothers and babies in need access to treatment through Unjani clinics;
- Educate mothers about skin health for babies – through a mass awareness campaign that aims to improve overall health through better skin health for babies;
- Strengthen health systems in vulnerable districts by investing in Unjani clinics, contributing to the establishment of new Unjani clinics and providing training and resources for Unjani nurses;
- Work with dermatologists and healthcare influencers to educate parents on how to attain healthy skin for healthier babies;
- Sponsor JOHNSON’S products to improve skin health for babies in need.
JOHNSON’S Baby partnership with Unjani Clinics & Dr. Carol Hlela
Unjani is a sustainable initiative that aims to strengthen health systems in low-income communities throughout South Africa by empowering nurses to own and operate their very own clinic within their community. There are currently 30 Unjani clinics in South Africa, providing thousands of mothers and babies in need access to treatment.
Knowledge is power, which is why JOHNSON’S has also partnered with Dr. Carol Hlela to help educate Health Care Professionals in these communities, alongside others, about baby skin health. Dr. Carol Hlela is a Paediatric Dermatologist with a Masters in Science in Global Health Science (MSc GHS) and a PHD in Clinical Medicine from Oxford University. She has become a pioneer in dermatology and has become a leader in providing quality baby skin care to help reduce the rise of skin diseases in babies in Africa.
While completing her community service in rural KwaZulu-Natal, she realised that the majority of her patients had skin rashes, and that getting medical help took a distance of almost 300km. This inspired her journey to specialise in paediatric dermatology, as she was exceedingly familiar with the importance of healthy baby skin. When approached to get involved with The Johnson’s Baby Healthy Skin
Project, she felt compelled to support the initiative as it aligned exactly to what she was already trying to achieve. “The Johnson’s Baby Healthy Skin Project is helping me to realise my personal goal to improve children’s lives through skincare”, says Dr. Hlela.
How to achieve healthy skin for healthier babies
Emollient Therapy has been shown to prevent 1 in 3 preterm deaths and has been demonstrated to reduce pathogens in the bloodstream by 41% and nosocomial infections by 71%.9 Emollients create a partially occlusive barrier between skin and air, thereby reducing trans-epidermal water loss (TEWL), and allows skin to rehydrate by diffusion of water from deeper skin layers. They also have the potential to protect skin from the external environment.10 Lotions, creams, ointments and oils can all act as emollients.10 JOHNSON’S Baby products are formulated to protect delicate infant skin against harsh climates like South Africa’s, exacerbated by factors like the sun’s harmful UV rays, microbes and detergents.11
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