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Campaign for children’s hygiene, others get underway

Deputy Director, Co-curricular Department, Lagos State Ministry of Education, Mr. Ogunlamoye Ayodeji; CEO, Wellbeing Foundation Africa Amy Oyekunle; Category Manager Skin Cleansing, Unilever Nigeria PLC, Osato Evbuomwan; Brand Ambassador, Lifebuoy, Omawumi Megbele; Director, Corporate Affairs, Unilever Nigeria PLC, Soromidayo George; Country Director, Sightsavers, Dr. Sunday Isiyaku, at the relaunch of lifebuoy soap in Lagos

More than 215,000 children under the age of five in Nigeria die due to preventable infections like diarrhoea and pneumonia each year with the highest percentage from Africa. The simple act of hand washing with soap is one of the most cost-effective, yet often overlooked ways that could have prevented many of these deaths.

As part of efforts to reduce these deaths and diseases, Unilever Nigeria Plc has launched ‘Help A Child Reach 5 Campaign in Lagos’. The programme also coincided with the relaunch of Lifebuoy health soap. Category Manager, Skin Cleansing, Unilever Nigeria Plc., Osato Evbuomwan, said Unilever was on a mission to improve the hygiene practices of more than two million children with Lifebuoy brand, noting that private corporations could play important roles in impacting the survival of the society.

According to him, “Unilever is also committed to changing the hygiene behaviour of a billion people worldwide by 2020,” he adding that the brand would partner Wellbeing Foundation Africa and Sightsavers to improve maternal and child health in Nigeria.

While delivering his keynote, Deputy Director, Co-curricular Department, Lagos State Ministry of Education, Ogunlamoye Ayodeji, stated that the growth of a country depends solely on the education of the majority of its people, saying, “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.”

Popular Afro-pop singer-songwriter, Omawumi Megbele, who was also unveiled as the brand’s new ambassador, lamented that hundreds of thousands of Nigerian children die before age five every year.

“We have to take further steps to address this issue,” she said. “I’m thrilled to partner with Lifebuoy to empower parents with the lifesaving message of hand-washing with soap.”

Country Director, Sightsavers, Dr. Sunday Isiyaku, 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.

CEO, Wellbeing Foundation Africa, Mrs. Amy Oyekunle, said new born babies were vulnerable to infections, emphasising the importance of ensuring access to skilled care under hygienic conditions: “Along with Lifebuoy, we seek to empower mothers in Nigeria through our MamaCare classes, led by qualified midwives, to help make hand-washing 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.”

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