Stories by Steve Dada
As the federal government launched the new oral health policy with the introduction of new standards in medical check-ups for Nigerians, multinational service provider, Unilever has pledged to develop new technologies to promote and protect oral hygiene of Nigerians.
Health Minister, Professor Onyebuchi Chukwu announced during the launch of the new policy that the National Council on Health has approved that henceforth there should be standard operational guidelines for medical check-ups to include dental records of every individual alongside other relevant medical data.
Chukwu said the review of the standards of medical check-up arose as a result of the unfortunate Dana air crash in which only victims from other countries were the ones whose dental records facilitated their identification procedures, “whereas, there was no Nigerian whose dental record could allow for same easy identification process”.
He assured that the new oral health policy will lay the solid foundation upon which the country shall build a formidable oral health system, “that provides efficient, effective, accessible and affordable healthcare for Nigerian populace”.
He therefore enjoined other service providers and stakeholders to pay attention to that part of the body which serves as both gateway and mirror of the whole body.
Expressing the readiness of his company to support and promote oral hygiene and care among Nigerians, Managing Director, Unilever Nigeria Plc, Mr. thabo Mabe disclosed that the company will soon unveil its latest innovative technique which focuses on integrated public health education and behavioural change programme aimed at driving improved oral health and hand hygiene and nutrition among school aged children in Nigeria.
According to him, “we shall be doing this through the creation of more techniques in terms of creating radio stations and creating reading cultures. We are looking into this because we have got lots of competitions that are thriving in schools to make sure that not only do they drive the passion for the habit of brushing day and night but it gives an opportunity to see this working”, he said.
He observed that the launch of the new policy reflects the meeting of the collective yearnings of all key stakeholders in the oral health community in the Nigeria for the highest policy commitment to frontally address the emerging oral health needs of the country.
According to him, “The Minister has said the government would be setting up more of the mobile fields/clinics and that would have to do with Unilever. We are partnering strongly with the federal government and also the Nigerian Dental Association to really drive the dental awareness and the whole idea behind the policy.”
And to ensure that the products from the stable of Unilever Plc continue to be affordable, Mabe said, “Affordability is the key issue for the Africans. African consumers spend money to buy several products and they are considerate and so we should be considerate. Our priority is to make sure our products are sensitive to consumers’ needs. We make sure that we identify particular objective responses that can enable our consumers to be able buy our products,” said Mabe.
He added that Unilever is blessed as a multinational organisation and a people who spend time as much as 24hours in the laboratories designing, innovating and coming up with block buster innovative technologies that would continue to be in the market places and those technologies are highly committed to making lives of ordinary persons better, improving the oral hygiene of ordinary consumers, improving the oral hygiene of kids to make sure they are also used to the whole habit of brushing their teeth twice a day.