The Philippines is no stranger to natural calamities. According to the World Economic Forum, from 1995 to 2015, there were a recorded 130 million Filipinos affected by natural disasters. In 2015 alone, the Philippines was the fourth highest ranking disaster-hit country in the world.
While most efforts are focused on immediate disaster relief, a common concern that is often overlooked is skin health. Based on data from the World Health Organization, Skin Disease was the third op cause of morbidity in Philippine evacuation centers. Exposure to the elements and overcrowded living conditions can aggravate simple skin concerns, like extremely dry skin, cuts and burns, and turn them into serious skin health issues if left untreated.
Simply providing the right personal care products can go a long way, instilling dignity and confidence in those living in the wake of crisis and disaster, so that they can go back to work or school.
Given these, petroleum jelly brand Vaseline together with the global humanitarian aid organization Direct Relief created “The Vaseline Healing Project” in 2015 an aid effort to provide product donations, healing missions and training programs to critical areas and help people in emergency situations. To date, the project has reached 2.4 million people across 41 countries, including USA, Ecuador, South Africa and India.
The campaign was established in the Philippines in the same year in response to aid efforts required by thousands who lost their homes during Typhoon Haiyan. Together with Direct Relief and local partner IPIF, it extended medical assistance in the form of a medical mission and distribution of Vaseline products to hundreds of residents living in the resettlement area. There, medical assistance was provided for patients who had developed skin problems, such as dermatitis, impetigo, and fungal infections.
While most people associate petroleum jelly to a quick remedy for simple issues like chapped lips, dry skin or cracked heels, it can also help address and prevent more pressing skin concerns. It can be used to prevent bacteria from entering small cuts, soothe minor burns, neutralize itchiness, and prevent blisters, among others.
Still ongoing to this day, the healing project works to promote the importance of skin health, as it continues to deploy aid efforts in areas of the Philippines that need it the most.