By Chioma Obinna
Unilever, Nigeria is targeting 2 million children for improved hygiene practices through its health soap brand, Lifebuoy.
Making this known during the re-launch of the soap in Lagos, Unilever also unveiled a renowned Afro-pop singer-songwriter, Omawumi Megbele, as its new ambassador.
Also, through its partnership with NGOs, Lifebuoy’s ‘Help a Child Reach 5’ global campaign will advance critical hygiene interventions such as handwashing with soap to address child mortality due to preventable diseases in Nigeria.
Speaking at the event, Category Manager, Skin Cleansing, Unilever Nigeria Plc, Osato Evbuomwan, said: “Private corporations can play important roles in impacting the survival of the society, and through the Lifebuoy brand, Unilever is absolutely committed to changing the hygiene behaviour of a billion people worldwide by 2020.
With strategic partnerships, we can expand programmes to drive lasting and impactful change within Nigerian communities”.
In his keynote address, the Deputy Director, Co-curricular Department, Lagos State Ministry of Education, Mr. Ogunlamoye Ayodeji noted that the growth of the nation depends solely on education of the majority of the people, regretting that not many are willing to apply their knowledge for the benefit of the nation.
“Since we recognise this challenge, the state government is working in line with Lifebuoy’s ‘Help a Child Reach 5’ initiative – an endeavour which addresses the mortality rate of children under 5”.
On her part, Lifebuoy’s newest brand ambassador, Omawumi Megbele said, “As a mother of two young children, I simply cannot imagine losing them to preventable infections. It is a shame that hundreds of thousands of Nigerian children die before their fifth birthday each year, so we have to take further steps to address this issue. I’m thrilled to partner with Lifebuoy to empower parents with the lifesaving message of handwashing with soap”.
Country Director, Sightsavers, Dr. Sunday Isiyaku, further explained that classrooms are important touch points to empower Nigerian youths, especially as a wide-reaching platform to bring hygiene practices acquired in school back to their communities – a critical step to ending the spread of neglected tropical diseases like blindness-causing trachoma.
Speaking, the Chief Executive, Wellbeing Foundation Africa, Mrs Amy Oyekunle, said newborns are vulnerable to infections, which is why ensuring access and availability to skilled care under hygienic conditions is imperative.
“Along with Lifebuoy, we seek to empower mothers in Nigeria through our MamaCare classes, led by qualified midwives, to help make handwashing with soap an everyday habit early on.
This partnership supports our global campaign, led by our Founder-President, Mrs Toyin Ojora Saraki, to ensure mothers and their babies survive and thrive.”