By Martins Ifijeh
According to the World Health Organization, Diarrhoea disease is the second leading cause of death in children under five years old, and is responsible for killing around 525,000 children every year. These deaths can be prevented through the simple act of handwashing with soap which can break the chain of infection.
Dettol, one of Nigeriaâ€™s leading brands, led the 2017 Global Handwashing Day celebrations by launching a nationwide campaign themed â€œLetter for Lifeâ€. The campaign was a unique way to get children interested in washing their hands, as well as also get them to spread the message of handwashing, from one child to another. To do this, the Dettol team went around to various primary schools in Nigeria, taught them proper hand washing habits, and in turn the children wrote hygiene letters. These Letters along with a free bar of Dettol soap were distributed to children who do not have access to soap.
To mark the 2017 Global Handwashing Day, Dettol organized an event at the Morroco Military Primary School Yaba in Lagos state, where they donated 12 hand washing sites to help inculcate proper handwashing habits to the school children. At the event, over 700 school children were taught about proper hand hygiene in a fun and engaging way through an entertaining Dance Drama and the handwashing song.
Speaking at the event, the Managing Director, West Africa, Rahul Murgai stated that â€œ at RB (Reckitt Benckiser) , our global vision is to provide the world with innovative solutions and products for healthier lives and happier homes. Dettol has been the trusted champion for good health and hygiene for over 50 years in Nigeria, and webelieve that itâ€™s important to inculcate good habits such as proper handwashing at an early age. A simple act of washing your hands with soap can prevent illness and arrest diarrhoea related deaths, which is why we are donating these 12 handwashing sites to the children of this school. Over the past 7 years, we have provided over 32 handwashing sites and have educated over 7 million children, parents and teachers, about the importance of hand washing through our School Hygiene Program, which is amass consumer education program to educate about proper handwashing habits.
Speaking further at the event, Marketing Director, RB West Africa, Aliza Leferink, went on to add; â€œThe Dettol brand has been at the forefront of providing health and hygiene messages via its products and initiatives in Nigeria. Our theme for the 2017 Global handwashing day is â€œA Letter for Lifeâ€. With this theme, we wanted a unique way to get children interested in washing their hands, as well as also get them to spread the message of handwashing, from one child to another. With these activities, we are creating awareness about the seriousness of the cause and also educating people on how they can prevent these deaths by the simple act of handwashing. Dettol works closely with the Ministry of Health, Save the Children International and the Nigerian Medical Association on social programs to create scaled awareness to reduce Diarrhoea related deaths.â€
Present at the event were dignitaries that graced the occasion that included the Chief of Party, Stop Diarrhoea Initiative, Save the Children International; Mr. David Atamewalen, Director of Disease Control, Lagos State Ministry of Health; Dr. Erinosho Ashimiu Eniola, ably represented, Chairman Lagos State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB); Mr. Ganiyu Sopeyin ably represented by Mrs. Y.M. Makinwa, President, Women Arise Initiative; Dr Joel Okei-Odumakin, Chairman, Yaba Local Council Devt Area; Hon. Omiyale Adejare, ably represented, Star actress on Nnenna & Friends; Mrs Yinka Olukunga, Brig. Gen. M.A.E. Okeji, ably represented by Col. O.O. Oladiran, Education Secretary, Lagos Mainland Education Authority (ILGEA); Mr Tijani Tajudeen, amongst others.