By Gabriel Olawale
Nigerian Breweries Plc, the HEINEKEN Africa Foundation and WaterAid Nigeria has made known their common commitment in promoting lifesaving hygiene education and handwashing facilities in the urgent fight against COVID-19 in Nigeria.
Nigeria is one of the most populated nation in Africa and is facing like many other countries significant challenges in tackling the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The WHO, UNICEF and the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) have all indicated that the spread of COVID-19, like most other infectious diseases, could be drastically reduced with basic hygiene behaviors such as handwashing with soap and water. Unfortunately, today, around 60 million people in Nigeria still do not have access to clean water and so lack this first line of defense against transmission.
In order to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and because it has built a strong expertise on Water access, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), the HEINEKEN Africa Foundation is committing 5 million euros in the coming year to set up handwashing facilities and provide hygiene information in health centers, markets and community settings in eight sub-Saharan African countries. As a first step, the Foundation will support WaterAid and World Vision with 2.5 million euros.
In Nigeria, one of the eight countries targeted, a contribution from the HEINEKEN Africa Foundation of 622,000 euros will help WaterAid Nigeria to install over 1,000 handwashing stations in healthcare facilities and other public places.
“Clean water, decent sanitation and hygiene is a basic human right but unfortunately many communities, especially in Africa, do not have access to it. The partnership with WaterAid and World Vision is the first phase in the HEINEKEN Africa Foundation’s commitment to support the fight against COVID-19 with a focus on WASH activities. As the pandemic develops, the Foundation will review where additional support is needed most for the first half of 2021” said Suzanne Giele, the HEINEKEN Africa Foundation General Manager.
“As a major brewing company in Nigeria, we want to play our part in the fight against COVID-19. This is why Nigerian Breweries Plc has already donated in April N600 million to the Federal and some state governments.
We are proud to partner with WaterAid Nigeria, with the support of the HEINEKEN Africa Foundation, to help vulnerable communities in Nigeria, something Nigerian Breweries Plc has always been dedicated to” said Mr. Jordi Borrut Bel, Managing Director and CEO of Nigerian Breweries Plc.
“The need for clean water and good hygiene has never been more urgent as we battle to contain the spread of Covid-19. Handwashing with water and soap is the first line of defence against Covid-19, yet around 60 million Nigerians don’t have access to clean water and 150 million lack basic handwashing facilities with soap and water, making it easy for the virus to spread.
The support of the HEINEKEN Africa Foundation will provide vital support to help us scale up our Covid-19 response work,” said Evelyn Mere, Country Director, WaterAid Nigeria.