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BETADINE & USIM Join Hands for Healthier Hand

Mundipharma Pharmaceuticals together with Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia (USIM) have collaborated to educate kindergartners from Tadika Islam MAIWP Sulaimaniyyah, Precinct 18, Putrajaya on the importance of hand hygiene through their Healthy Hands project. In this Healthy Hands research, Mundipharma and USIM wanted to find out how hand hygiene habits can influence the rate of absenteeism among the young children.

Almost 300 students ranging from ages five to six years old participated in the day’s Healthy Hands Project intervention. The day started with the children watching a video that teaches them the eleven essential steps of hand washing using a catchy sing-along song with animation coupled with vibrant visuals. To show the effectiveness of hand washing technique, the children were first asked to rub their hands with Glo Germ™ tool, a gel which contains simulated germs that illuminate under UV light prior to looking at their hands under the UV light.  The children were then asked to look at their hands using the Glo Germ™ tool to examine germs on their hands. Next, the children were guided to wash their hands with the correct steps with water and BETADINE® Antiseptic Skin Cleanser and their hands were checked under the UV light again. BETADINE® Antiseptic Skin Cleanser contains 7.5% povidone-iodine; a scientifically-proven antiseptic that kills bacteria, fungi and viruses that cause infections[1], and offers additional germ-killing action against viruses compared to other antibacterial handwashes[2]. The BETADINE® antiseptic skin cleanser has been clinically-proven to kill 99.99% of the leading strains of HFMD[3]-[4] such as Coxsackievirus (CA16), Enterovirus 71 (EV71) and Influenza[5].

A Handy Tool

The kindergarten teachers are taught the right hand washing steps as well to guide the children, in case the children need a hand with remembering the hand washing steps. A mobile device application (app) specially developed by Mundipharma can remind the children on the steps. The app is installed in tablets mounted on the bathroom walls near the sink. It is then activated to run motion pictures of proper hand washing steps with a catchy song as guidance to teach the kids. Following each successful hand washing step, the child earns a star as reward and will be scored according to the number of correct steps performed. The app could also identify which hand washing steps that children often missed out and enable the reinforcement of hand hygiene education. Data from the application will be collected and tabulated for the researchers to use and correct specific teaching methods or areas.

Besides the app, to further increase the awareness on hand hygiene, posters with infographics on common infectious diseases such as hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) and influenza, when and how to proper hand washing, were displayed in common area. The infographic posters containing information that includes the eleven steps of hand washing, when they should wash their hands, and facts about hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) and influenza.

The Clean Partnership

The Healthy Hands Project is a joint collaboration between Mundipharma Malaysia and Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia. Senior Medical Lecturer and Clinical Microbiologist Dr. Nurul Azmawati Mohamed, the Principal investigator and her team of five co-investigators are investigating the rate of absenteeism and its correlation to healthy hand hygiene. Dr Nurul has been studying infection control in the community for the past two years.

“We expect to see an increase in awareness when it comes to hand hygiene, a decrease in the rate for absenteeism due to infections that are common among pre-school children such as HFMD, food poisoning, cold and flu,” explained Dr. Nurul.

Mundipharma is no stranger when it comes to funding projects by scientists and those in the medical field; however this would be one of the first collaborations of this sort to happen in Southeast Asia. “Both Mundipharma and USIM have found common objectives in conducting the study as it is also in line with the company’s commitment to serve public health,” said Dr. Ravindra Ramesh Deore, an Associate Medical Affairs Director from Mundipharma Pharmaceuticals Sdn. Bhd.

“Once hand hygiene is taught at a young age, it’s easy for it to become a habit. That’s why we chose to conduct study among children because at the same time we can instil these habits,” said another research team member, Dr. Tengku Zetty Maztura, Medical Lecturer and Infection Control Specialist from the Faculty of Medicine & Health Sciences, UPM Serdang.

The study involves three phases. The first phase, conducted in early September, with a pre-test in which the kindergartners’ knowledge on hand hygiene was gauged. “We ensured that the questionnaire used was child-friendly by using pictures, so that it’d be easy for them to answer,” Dr. Nurul further explains. “What happened today was the start of the second phase – the intervention.”  After two months of data collection, the study will move on to the third phase which is a post-test. The kindergartners will be asked same questions as they did in the first phase. During the second phase, the absenteeism rate of the children due to HFMD, acute gastroenteritis and Influenza will also be documented. The other kindergarten in Cheras which is involved in the project is used as the control group and will only have pre-test rolled out and absenteeism rate recorded as baseline comparison to that of kindergarteners in Putrajaya.

“This programme definitely has a lot of benefits, as we feel that it’s important for children to be taught the proper hand hygiene from young. We are grateful for being supplied with the right equipment and materials for this project,” said the headmistresses of the kindergarten, Puan Jamaliah Othman and Puan Zarina Md Sharif. “The study can greatly assist schools by proving that proper hand hygiene habits can potentially reduce the rate of infection. Once this study meets its objective, more schools in the country can be recommended to increase proper hand hygiene awareness.”

Besides lowering the rate of sickness absenteeism, protection against diseases such as HFMD and influenza are also important as HFMD cases in the past year have raised to over 23,000 cases between January to August of 2016[6]. Mundipharma believes in continuing their support to the research and any potential research that can be evaluated with scientific merit and is parallel to the company’s commitment in public health.

“We will be happy to further sustain this research and we look forward to the next phase,” added Dr Ravi. “We support any education initiatives which will add value to the healthcare practice in Malaysia, especially those involving younger children, as we want to nurture a healthier generation.”

In fact, the team behind BETADINE® at Mundipharma has also earlier reached out to over 30 private kindergartens, including more than 2,000 children around the Klang Valley to educate children on the importance of healthy hand hygiene practices, in addition to the correct ways of hand washing. The team behind the brand also plans to expand this initiative to other regions, in an effort to help the public identify early symptoms of HFMD and Influenza and ways of prevention.

And more recently on the 7th October 2017, BETADINE® celebrated World Children’s Day 2017 with a record-breaking attempt that successfully qualified for the Malaysia Book of Records with the largest group of 1,774 children in Malaysia performing the correct hand washing steps together. Representatives from both the Ministry of Health Malaysia and the Malaysia Book of Records were also there for the record breaking and at the same time, be educated on the correct hand washing steps to strengthen awareness on good hand hygiene in times of escalating cases of diseases such as the Hand, Foot and Mouth disease (HFMD) and Influenza.

BETADINE® Antiseptics is also the Official Healthcare Product Partner of Manchester City Football Club – one of the world’s best football team and well known all over the world. As sports can be a major source of inspiration for many people worldwide, the team behind the BETADINE® brand finds it essential to raise awareness on important health issues through sports. This includes the prevention of infectious diseases, especially in emerging markets like Malaysia where outbreaks are on the rise.

BETADINE® Antiseptic Skin Cleanser has scientifically proven efficacy against MERS5, Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease3, Influenza A7,8 virus including H1N1.  For more information on BETADINE® Antiseptic Skin Cleanser please visit or contact customer service at +603 7946 0606.