ENGLEWOOD CLIFFS, N.J., Jan. 7, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- In recent years, many people across the globe and in the U.S. have been displaced due to humanitarian crises, natural disaster or extreme poverty. Many of these individuals are forced to live without basic necessities, such as food, water, shelter and medical care. Without access to the simple, everyday resources we take for granted, minor issues – even dry skin – can become a much more serious health issue. A recent survey found that 67% of health workers on the frontline of crisis and disaster say preventable skin conditions keep people from doing ordinary things like attending work or school.* Simply providing the right over-the-counter treatments or personal care products can go a long way, instilling dignity and confidence in those living in the wake of crisis and disaster.
Today, global personal care brand, Vaseline®, is partnering with Direct Relief, an international medical aid organization, to launch The Vaseline® Healing Project. The project will provide dermatological care, medical supplies, Vaseline® products and health worker training to help heal the skin of five million people living in the wake of crisis and disaster in the U.S. and abroad by 2020. With the support of acclaimed actress Viola Davis in the U.S., The Vaseline® brand is also encouraging Americans to get involved through an easy online donation mechanism and a buy one to give one promotion, allowing others to make a difference for those in need.
Skin Conditions are a Common, Yet Often Overlooked Concern
A recent survey conducted by Direct Relief among their partner health care clinics serving people living on the frontline of crisis and disaster in 39 countries globally showcases the need for skin care for people living in crisis. Findings include:
- 3 out of 4 (75% of) health workers surveyed say that skin conditions are "regularly a complaint" or "very often a complaint" among their patient populations*
- Over 80% of clinics surveyed say they see patients affected by eczema, scabies or burns*
- More than half (50%) of healthcare clinics surveyed do not have enough medicine or supplies to treat skin conditions*
Viola Davis' Quest to Heal the Body, and in turn, the Mind and Spirit
Emmy Award winner Viola Davis has joined forces with The Vaseline® Healing Project in the U.S. to raise awareness for skin issues that many who are excluded from traditional medical systems face.
- Viola Davis, U.S. Vaseline® Healing Project Advocate: "The Vaseline® Healing Project resonates with me personally because having grown up in poverty, I've seen how a minor issue like dry skin can become a serious health concern. Being a part of something that will heal the body, and in turn, the mind and spirit, is going to be a highlight of my life. I want to use my platform to give this community, both abroad and here at home, a voice."
What Can A Dermatologist Do In Areas of Need?
In times of crisis, the need for medical services, including dermatological care, is at its highest. In these situations, where people often face prolonged exposure to the elements and the risk of unaddressed skin conditions becoming serious, dermatologists can make a substantial impact. However, only 20% of international health care clinics surveyed by Direct Relief reported having a skin specialist or dermatologist on staff.
To address this gap, The Vaseline® Healing Project is sponsoring dermatological missions aimed at extending skin care to those who need it most. In 2015, The Vaseline® Healing Project traveled to Jordan, where they treated over a 1,000 patients in a week – most of whom were Syrian refugees fleeing violence. In addition, The Vaseline® Healing Project traveled to the Philippines to treat people for free in an area devastated by Typhoon Haiyan, and to a rural community in Kenya where many patients had the opportunity to receive dermatological care for the first time in their lives. In 2016, missions will be held in India, South Africa, Nepal and other parts of the world.
- Dr. Grace Bandow and Dr. Samer Jaber, Participants in the first dermatological mission: "It never occurred to us to prioritize basic remedies like Vaseline® Jelly for a medical mission until we traveled to Jordan for the first time," said Dr. Bandow. "On-the-ground we realized how the simplest skin remedies – sometimes taken for granted in our lives – can make an extraordinary difference. We were happy to have been asked to participate in The Vaseline® Healing Project's first mission and to contribute to the larger cause."
Products & Training Help Provide Extraordinary Healing
The Vaseline® Healing Project donated 1 million units of Vaseline® Jelly in 2015 and will continue to donate Vaseline® products globally to Direct Relief's network of partner clinics and in the organization's relief kits. Through the partnership, Vaseline® will also provide community health worker training on skin care.
- Ricardo Pimenta, Vaseline® Global Vice President: "For over a century Vaseline® Jelly has been used as a skin protectant to help heal and provide visible relief from dry skin. While many people don't think much about it – beyond the treatment of chapped lips, dry skin, or a small cut – Vaseline® Jelly is a product that has the ability to address skin conditions in areas of crisis and disaster. Living in overcrowded communities with exposure to the elements can lead to extremely dry and cracked skin, cuts or burns that become much bigger problems when left untreated. In these situations Vaseline® Jelly, a product that we all have in our homes, can make an extraordinary difference. Through our partnership with Direct Relief, we are donating Vaseline® products and sponsoring dermatologists with an aim to bring healing to 5 million people living in vulnerable conditions by 2020."
- Thomas Tighe, Direct Relief CEO: "Direct Relief's mission is to improve the health and lives of people affected by poverty or emergency situations, in all 50 states and more than 70 countries around the world. Many of our healthcare partners on the frontlines report that common skin conditions, which can lead to bigger problems, are far too often left unaddressed. That's why Direct Relief is delighted to partner with Unilever on The Vaseline® Healing Project. That such a prominent global company recognizes this issue and is doing something to help people in need means a lot and is a great example of leadership that extends beyond the bottom line. Direct Relief, with support from Vaseline®, will conduct a series of global dermatological healing missions, as well as provide local healthcare partners around the world with Vaseline® product donations and other relevant products to help improve the skin health of people in need."
Get Involved By Donating A Kit To Help Someone In Need
Vaseline® invites others to join in the healing effort to aid millions in need:
- Send Healing Tools Across the Globe: People are invited to visit Vaseline.us/TheVaselineHealingProject to build a relief kit for someone in need. The items in each kit might seem ordinary, but they are extraordinary tools to help those living in crisis and disaster. Vaseline® has taken the first step by donating 1.2 million units of Vaseline® Jelly. Donations like these help Direct Relief to send over $500 million in essential resources to people in need every year.
- One Vaseline® Purchase Equals One Healing Donation: Throughout 2016, every Vaseline® lotion or jelly purchase will support Direct Relief to deliver Vaseline® Jelly, medical supplies and dermatological care to people affected by poverty or emergencies.
- See Healing Aid All Over the World: An online aid map will track and display where The Vaseline® Healing Project is providing aid around the world.
- Share The Vaseline® Healing Project Story: To visually showcase the brand's commitment to healing and the impact these missions and products have on people everywhere, Vaseline® has created a short film titled Not So Ordinary.
Vaseline® products are manufactured by Unilever [NYSE: UL, UN], one of the world's largest consumer products companies. With a more than 140-year heritage as America's most trusted healthy skin expert and more than 30 years as a leading global hand and body lotion brand, Vaseline® delivers products that meet the specific needs of consumers, no matter their lifestage or lifestyle. The Vaseline® brand encompasses six product ranges – Vaseline® Spray Moisturizers, Vaseline® Total Moisture®, Vaseline® Intensive Care, Vaseline® MEN®, Vaseline® Jelly and Vaseline® Lip Therapy® products. Vaseline® products are available at food, drug and mass retailers nationwide. For more information, visit www.vaseline.com, www.facebook.com/vaseline or www.twitter.com/vaselinebrand
About Unilever United States, Inc. Unilever is one of the world's leading suppliers of Food, Refreshments, Home and Personal Care products with sales in more than 190 countries. In the United States, the portfolio includes brand icons such as: Axe, Ben & Jerry's, Breyers, Caress, Clear Scalp & Hair Therapy, Consort For Men, Country Crock, Degree, Dove personal care products, Fruttare, Good Humor, Hellmann's, I Can't Believe It's Not Butter!, Just for Me!, Klondike, Knorr, Lever 2000, Lipton, Magnum, Motions, Nexxus, Noxzema, Pond's, Popsicle, Promise, Q-tips, Simple, St. Ives, Suave, Talenti Gelato & Sorbetto, TIGI, TONI&GUY Hair Meet Wardrobe, TRESemme and Vaseline®. All of the preceding brand names are trademarks or registered trademarks of the Unilever Group of Companies. Unilever employs approximately 8,000 people in the United States – generating approximately $8.5 billion in sales in 2014.
Unilever's Sustainable Living Plan (USLP) aims to double the size of its business, while reducing its overall environmental footprint and increasing positive social impact. The USLP is Unilever's strategic response to the challenges businesses face operating in an uncertain and volatile world. See more on the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan at http://www.unileverusa.com/sustainable-living.
Unilever ranked number one in its sector on the 2014 Dow Jones Sustainability Index.
All of Unilever's global factory network, as well as its US non-manufacturing facilities and dedicated distribution centers, have achieved zero non-hazardous waste to landfill status.
About Direct Relief Direct Relief is a medical relief organization, active in all 50 states in the US and in 70 countries globally. The organization has been among the world's largest medical suppliers to West Africa in response to the Ebola epidemic, to the Philippines following Typhoon Haiyan, and to Haiti after the 2010 earthquake. Named among the world's 10 most innovative nonprofits by Fast Company, Direct Relief has top charity ratings, including four-stars from Charity Navigator and a 100% fundraising efficiency rating from Forbes magazine. Among other distinctions, Direct Relief has received the 2014 CECP Directors' Award, the President's Award from Esri for excellence in GIS mapping, and the Peter F. Drucker Award for Nonprofit Innovation. For more information visit http://www.DirectRelief.org
*Based on an internal survey of 127 of Direct Relief's partner clinics across 39 countries
 In 2016, for every unit sold, Vaseline® will donate 2¢, up to a maximum of 1 million dollars. Excludes lip items.
Virginia Landau/Edelman Virginia.Landau@Edelman.com (212) 704-4551
Video - https://youtu.be/ArQNgzdW2rw