A new campaign that was jointly launched by Antabax and Hospital Sg Buloh has a simple life lesson for everyone to learn for their hygiene, health and happiness, which is to Always Be Clean (ABC).
The ABC of Back-To-School Health campaign that was launched at Hospital Sg Buloh, here today aims to inculcate better hygiene habits among Year One students by teaching them the basics of good hand hygiene, and giving them role models in the form of older students from Kelab Dr Muda to model their behavior on.
The ABCs of Back-To-School Health campaign will benefit three school in the Sungai Buloh area namely SK Bandar Baru Sg Buloh, SK Sg Buloh, SK Bkt Rahman Putra, equipping more than 3,000 students with the basics of hygiene that can be among the most effective methods to prevent the spread of communicable diseases that are spread via unclean hands.
Present at the campaign launch were The Director of Hospital Sungai Buloh, Dr Khalid bin Ibrahim, Lam Soon Edible Oils Sdn Bhd, Group Product Manager, Household & Personal Care, Marketing Division, Ms Angeline Sim.
More than 200 students and teachers from the participating schools, parents and hospital staff joined the launch where they learned the importance of hygiene in a fun, interactive session that was research-based yet easy to understand.
In light of the flooding in the East Coast, Perak and Johor, the need for good hygiene practices among children and adults is even more important as a preventive measure to reduce the spread of communicable air and water-borne diseases. The current cooler weather due to cold north-easterly winds may also contribute to a rise in incidences of the common cold.
Antabax, a proudly Malaysian antibacterial personal care range has been actively championing hygiene and health through innovative education, awareness and training programmes. The brand collaborates closely with Hospital Sungai Buloh, a noted center of excellence for the prevention and treatment of communicable diseases in Malaysia in developing campaigns that are timely and relevant to current health issues facing the nation.
The ABC (Always Be Clean) of Back-to-School Health was developed in response to the situation at flood relief centers, and as a way to help kindergarteners transition to the more independent lifestyle of primary school.
Lam Soon Edible Oils Sdn Bhd, Group Product Manager, Household & Personal Care, Marketing Division, Ms Angeline Sim, explained that the urgent need to reinforce hand washing habits to prevent the spread of communicable diseases such as influenza and diarrhea was apparent from the situation at flood relief centers which were often housed in schools.
“Good hygiene is important at all times but it becomes vital when people have to live, study or work in close quarters, sharing items including washroom facilities. For young children who are moving from kindergarten where the student to teacher ratio is low, to primary schools where they need to be more independent, it is important to reinforce hand washing habits early and repeatedly to reduce the risk of transmitting or catching infectious diseases spread via unclean hands,” Ms Sim said.
According to studies on average a human hand is host to nearly 150 different bacteria species , while 80 percent of all infection is transmitted via unclean hands. Hand washing is the single most effective way to prevent the spread of these infections. 
“The spread of communicable diseases can be reduced by teaching children and adults the ABCs of this campaign. A – Always; B – Be; C – Clean. The message is simple to help the youngest of primary school children internalize the practice of good hygiene, and to make it easy for their ‘big brothers and sisters’ from the Kelab Dr Muda to guide them in this behavior,” Ms Sim said, adding that the brand plans to extend the campaign to states that are rebuilding after the flood.
The Director of Hospital Sungai Buloh, Dr Khalid bin Ibrahim said that while the hospital is a national center of excellence, it is very much a part of the local community and is focused on programs that will improve health outcomes.
“Our approach is prevention of communicable diseases as the first line of defense. The knowledge, practice and good habit formation of hand and overall hygiene can be highly effective in reducing the spread of communicable diseases. We have the trained personnel and resources to assist the community and through our collaboration with Antabax we are making it a reality,” Dr Khalid said.
The event included an informative talk on hand hygiene, a workshop and demonstration of correct hand hygiene practices including the seven-step hand wash technique and the four-step hand sanitizing method, a coloring contest, the appearance of the Antabax mascot, Germbuster, a hand-hygiene dance by nurses from the hospital and the distribution of Antabax gift boxes for children and their mothers.
“It is a must to get the involvement of parents in reinforcing good hygiene habits, which is why the Antabax gift boxes are given to children to gift to their mothers. Learning about hygiene at school alone, and at events such as this is not enough without the support of parents,” Ms Sim said.
Dr. Khalid also advised parents to play an active role in teaching good hygiene to children so that it would become a habit.
“For parents and for children our advice is simple, ‘Always Be Clean’. Make good hygiene a practice as it can help you stay healthy, and productive when you head back to school,” Dr Khalid said in closing.
 Checkup: Hand Bacteria, Indiana University http://soundmedicine.iu.edu/segment/1867/Hand-Bacteria
 American Journal of Infection Control, http://childparenting.about.com/b/2011/01/09/why-schools-should-enforce-hand-washing.htm