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Japanese Firm Joins BCtA to Promote Public Health in Uganda

Saraya Co., Japanese manufacturer of hygiene and sanitation products, has joined the Business Call to Action (BCtA) with an initiative to decrease healthcare associated infections in Uganda.

Saraya brings alcohol-based hand rub products to East Africa in an effort to reduce the spread of preventable diseases. The company has committed to improving the compliance rate of healthcare workers in Uganda and scale-up its products production and sales by 2016.

With an estimated 75 percent of childhood diseases linked to poor sanitation practices in Uganda, Saraya has worked in the country to promote better hand washing and hygiene since 2010. In collaboration with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and local partners, the company initiated a feasibility pilot project in 2012 to control infections with its alcohol-based hand rub products in hospitals, and educate healthcare workers about preventing healthcare associated infections. As a result, Saraya’s alcohol-based hand rub products were proven to decrease infections, including post-cesarean sepsis and acute diarrhea in pediatrics units.

To make its products more accessible, the company has also established a local subsidiary to manufacture, distribute and sell its products in East Africa. Saraya procures bio-ethanol, the main ingredient of their products locally. The company’s entire value chain from sourcing to sales is designed to provide affordable products and enhance distribution.

The company plans to provide its specialty Ugandan-made products to 100 hospitals in Uganda and to 300 hospitals across East Africa by 2017.

Last year, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) Tokyo and the Business Call to Action (BCtA) hosted the first BCtA event in Japan to encourage the Japanese private sector to participate in innovative business approaches that create development impact. The event featured several innovative business practices, showcasing how companies can overcome market challenges that can benefit the poor and create social and economic impact in local communities.

In October, Ghana-based technology provider Farmerline announced plans to join the Business Call to Action (BCtA) and help empower 500,000 small-scale farmers in West Africa to advance their livelihoods by accessing information that helps them to improve their harvests. The company also plans to provide a specialized mobile communication and data-collection platform to 5,000 development organizations and agribusinesses by 2019.

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