Parents everywhere want their babies to be happy and healthy. But mosquito-borne diseases like malaria threaten their safety. There were an estimated 214 million cases of malaria worldwide in 2015, mostly affecting pregnant women and babies. And sadly, 91 percent of those who died from the disease were in Africa.
Inspired by our vision to lead the world in essentials for a better life, we’re motivated to help babies thrive in communities around the world. We know that millions of parents throughout Africa trust our Huggies brand of diapers to keep their babies dry and clean, which also means happy and healthy. Since 2014, we’ve been working with Malaria No More, a global organization determined to end deaths from malaria, starting with mothers and babies in Kenya, where more than three-quarters of people are at risk of malaria. Our goal has been to give parents and communities access to the basic essentials that will make their lives better.
ORIGINS OF THE PARTNERSHIP
Our involvement began several years ago. We had begun exploring how non-woven materials, like those used in our Huggies brand of diapers, could potentially be used to make mosquito nets. At the same time, our team in Brazil had developed an insect repellant specially designed to be safe for infants. Together, these two projects got us thinking about other ways we could contribute to the prevention of mosquito-borne diseases.
“We realized right away that we wanted to help,” said Jenny Lewis, Vice President of Kimberly-Clark’s Foundation. “Our work in the non-woven material and repellent space helped us to better understand the threat malaria poses to mothers and babies and how Huggies and Kimberly-Clark could help. If there were any resources we could bring to the table in the fight against malaria, then we had a responsibility to do so.” That got the team talking to experts in the local market.
FINDING THE RIGHT SOLUTION FOR KENYA
As John Loomes, Kimberly-Clark’s General Manager for West, East and Central Africa, explains, economic and educational barriers often get in the way of people using mosquito nets in countries like Kenya. “When people have the nets, they use them. But many people haven’t been taught about the nets’ effectiveness, correct use or how to recognize the warning signs of malaria. And sometimes families have difficulty accessing nets and malaria treatment. Unfortunately, malaria knows no income or educational boundaries.” We quickly learned that mothers and babies in Kenya didn’t just need nets – in some cases they needed awareness and even help with treatment. But to make this happen, we knew that we needed a partner. That’s how we found Malaria No More.
COMING TOGETHER FOR MOTHERS
Malaria No More’s comprehensive approach to ending deaths from malaria – from preventing the disease with mosquito nets to preventing deaths through timely diagnoses and treatment – matched our vision of educating and equipping mothers. Together with Malaria No More, we developed a joint program with the Huggies brand called Mothers Against Malaria.
Mothers Against Malaria took the message of malaria prevention to the airwaves through a series of public service announcements on the radio, and on the road through a traveling roadshow featuring performances and appearances by Kenyan celebrities. Last year, the Malaria Knowledge, Attitudes, and Practices (KAP) Survey results found that 29 percent of respondents had been exposed to Mothers Against Malaria campaign messages – representing more than 13 million people in Kenya.
We also reached mothers through in-store promotions where we gave away treated mosquito nets and educational materials about malaria prevention to people shopping for diapers.
But Mothers Against Malaria was not just about raising awareness of a cause. Ultimately, our goal was education, prevention and treatment – to make lives better. So over the past two years, we’ve also helped deliver 600,000 medical treatments for malaria to Kenyans. Now the program is evolving to reach mothers before their babies are at risk – before they’re even born. We’re putting together prevention kits for expectant mothers and distributing them in neonatal clinics. The kits include essentials like relevant information for expectant mothers, treated mosquito nets and Huggies diapers. “With Kimberly-Clark’s support, Mothers Against Malaria has given mothers in Kenya the information and resources they need to protect their families,” said Martin Edlund, Chief Executive Officer of Malaria No More. “Kimberly-Clark shares Malaria No More’s commitment to ending malaria deaths, and together we’re making great strides in Kenya.”
Working together with local partners and, most importantly, mothers, we’ve been able to help babies thrive, which is at the heart of Huggies’ brand promise. “Huggies was able to start up a conversation with mom,” said Lewis. “We always want to be a trusted resource so that people can live healthy and productive lives. With Mothers Against Malaria, people in Kenya are having a conversation with us and interacting with the brand in a way that is making lives better.”
General Manager for
West, East and Central Africa,
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