By Luminous Jannamike
ABUJA – Dettol, an antibacterial brand, weekend took the campaign for proper handwashing practices to 2000 school children drawn from seven public and private schools in the Federal Capital Territory, FCT.
Speaking at the event marking the 2018 Global Handwashing Day in Abuja, the General Manager of Reckitt Benckiser West Africa, makers of Dettol, Mr. Dayanand Sriram, said the campaign was a demonstration of the brand’s commitment to the course of reducing diseases transmission in the country and meeting the target of the SDGs on child mortality.
He said: “Dettol has been the trusted champion for good health and hygiene for over 50 years in Nigeria, and we believe that it is important to inculcate good habits such as proper handwashing at an early age.
“A simple act of washing hands with soap can prevent illnesses and arrest diarrhoea related deaths. This is why we are continuing with the tradition of driving habit change, and provision of needed infrastructure.
“Over the past years, Dettol has provided handwashing sites and educated over 7 million children, parents and teachers about the importance of handwashing through the School Hygiene Program, which is a mass education program about proper handwashing and hygiene habits,” he added.
Speaking also, the Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, said evidences have shown that improved handwashing could have a major impact on public health in the country.
He called on Nigerians to imbibe the handwashing habit as a day-to-day activity for the reduction in the occurrence of diarrhoea, acute respiratory tract infection, and trachoma.
Represented by Dr. Fubara Chukwu, the National Coordinator of Food Safety and Quality Programme of the federal government, Adewole said: “If Nigeria’s SDGs target for reduction of child mortality are to be met, handwashing habits must be improved as well as access to safe water and hygiene.
“Because handwashing with soap can prevent transmission of a variety of pathogens, it may be more effective than any single vaccine or hygiene behaviour.
“If promoted widely enough, handwashing with soap at key times and as appropriate can be viewed as essential do-it-yourself vaccine. Hand washing must become commonplace in this country.”
The highlight of the event was the donation of 12 hand washing stations to help facilitate and maintain the habit of proper handwashing by the school children and a handwashing relay by the 2000 pupils.