Reckitt Benckiser Nigeria, makers of leading Antiseptic brand, Dettol and Federal Ministry of Water Resources have signed a memorandum of understanding to partner on a national campaign to make the country cleaner and healthier.
The MoU for the campaign tagged The ‘Clean Naija Initiative’ was signed in Abuja on Thursday, March 14, 2019.
The signing ceremony which was attended by Nigeria’s water resources minister Suleiman Hussein Adamu, officials of the ministry, the leadership team of RB Nigeria and health professionals.
Speaking at the event, the minister expressed optimism that the campaign will promote awareness of behavioural change among Nigerians on healthy living.
“With this partnership between RB Nigeria and the Federal Government, we hope to build a greater level of awareness and achieve behavioural change amongst Nigerians, such that will lead to more hygienic practices and ultimately, a healthier population,” Adamu said.
The minister said lack of sanitation facilities caused women and girls especially to settle for open defecation and exposed them to violence, including rape, when they have to go out at night to defecate in the open.
Recent reports have placed Nigeria amongst the top nations that bear a significant portion of the global disease burden and high under-5 mortality rates. Many of these diseases, such as diarrhoea can be prevented by proper hand washing habits and wide-scale hygiene education. This is a major motivation for the setting up of the Clean Naija Initiative.
General manager, RB West Africa, Dayanand Sriram, said, “The Clean Naija Initiative was developed as an all-inclusive campaign with various levels and phases aimed at creating awareness, education and driving behavioural change to achieve a cleaner and healthier Nigeria.”
Sriram explained that “Our clear objectives are: to reduce diarrhoea-related child mortality in Nigeria in line with United Nations Sustainable Development Goals of 2030, to reduce Malaria-related deaths in Nigeria, and to reduce open defecation menace in Nigeria.”
RB Nigeria, through the Dettol brand, has over the years developed a number of programs committed to tackling public health and hygiene issues.
These include The School Hygiene Program, through which RB has educated over seven million children on proper hand hygiene habits, and the New Mum’s Program, through which the company has educated over five million pregnant and new mothers on hygienic practices to protect them during the pre- and post- phases of their pregnancies. Sriram added.
The MoU and Dettol’s Clean Naija Initiative comes at a time when Nigerians are exposed to communicable diseases – with children being the most susceptible. The program is expected to contribute to individual-led behaviour change that improves public health nationwide.