By Princewill Ekwujuru
Cleanliness they say, is next to Godliness as it has been reported that hand hygiene practice reduces acquired infection by 90 per cent. However, a research result recently indicted health workers for not washing their hands after attending to patients. The report also indicated  that cleaning one’s hands after contact with pathogens is very important as pathogens are mostly transmitted from patient to patient from the hands of health workers.

It was also observed  that cleaning one’s hands before and after contact with person (s) is one of the most important measures for preventing the spread of micro-organisms.

This research result invariably may have moved  Reckitt Benckiser Nigeria Limited, owner of the Dettol liquid disinfectant and soap brands, to drive healthy citizenry with its ‘Good health is in our hands’ campaign to educate millions of Nigerian children about the importance of hygiene with the roll-out of  activities  in schools across Nigeria to inculcate hand hygiene practice.

The campaign, according to managers of the brand, aims to build awareness about personal hygiene, and its importance to reduce the spread of infections in homes, schools, playground and the community.

Mrs. Gbemisola Fatoki, HDI, Youth Marketer, speaking on behalf of the company said the  campaign is a Corporate Social Investment (CSI) by Reckitt Benckiser  to promote healthy citizenry.

“The campaign seeks to institutionalise a culture of ‘Chain of Clean Hands’ whereby every member of the society takes personal hygiene more seriously,” she said.

From observation, to achieve the strategic intent of the campaign, the activation of the ‘Good health is in our Hands’, the company uses educational teams who visit select primary schools, which the  primary target group are pupils in classes three to five while the teachers are the secondary target group. Unlike the traditional teaching method, the hygiene lesson is an interactive, fun-filled and eye-catching programme that teaches children basic information about germs, how it affects them, how it enters their body and most importantly, how they can protect themselves against germs and infection.

Israel Opayemi, Chief Strategist, Chain Reactions Nigeria, Public Relations consultants to Reckitt Benckiser Nigeria Limited, at an interactive session with Brand journalists said the commencement of the 2011 phase of the campaign underlines the commitment of the company to the environment where it operates.

His words: “As a consumer-driven company, the consumers are at the centre of decision-making in Reckitt Benckiser. That is why all the products are carefully selected in a manner that they continue to build brand equity that delivers value to the consumer at all times.  So, the ‘Good health is in our hands’ campaign is another forward-looking innovation that has been developed to promote the general wellbeing of the Nigerian people, and give them maximum protection against germs so they can be more active,” he said.

Opayemi explained that the importance of hand washing cannot be overstressed especially for children because the hands have been proven as the most common way by which they pick germs, and in this way, infectious diseases spread. “With the ‘Good Health is in our Hands’ campaign, children in particular as well as their teachers and parents, will be availed vital knowledge they need about germs and how they can protect themselves against germs on day-to-day basis. More importantly, they will derive significant benefits as they imbibe the habit of hand-washing through constant use of Dettol”, he added.

He expressed the company’s commitment to continue to invest in children as the leaders of tomorrow. “Children are very dear to families and Reckitt Benckiser regards them highly as a vital segment of the population. Their ability to learn fast in their formative years is one of the characteristics that make them unique which is why Dettol brand has continued to invest in initiatives that can help to secure their future.

The Dettol school hand hygiene programme for children in primary schools is one of such social investments by which Reckitt Benckiser has demonstrated its commitment to the children over the past years”, Opayemi said.

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