As part of efforts to drive awareness for good hygiene among school pupils, Unilever Nigeria Plc has donated samples of Lifebuoy soap to schools across the countries. At one of the donation site, Oregun High School, the management of the Unilever enjoined the pupils to imbibe the attitude of handwashing as a critical step to preventing them from contacting diseases adding that doing so will further help them to stay healthy as they pursue their life ambition.
Speaking at the assembly ground of the school premises to sensitize the students on the essence of hand washing and the steps to be taken to prevent any form of diseases, The brand building director of the company, Mr. David Okeme explained that hygiene has become necessary considering the danger it poses to the future of children especially as it affects the realization of their life-long goals.
He said” Hygiene is something that is attached to the future of the children. In many cases, they always lead to the death of children. As a company, we believe that we have a role to play in ensuring that they grow up healthy and strong to become the leaders of tomorrow. You must take to the seven steps to good hygiene because doing so will help promote healthy living”.
Speaking further on what inform the initiative, Okeme explained that the idea stem out of the need to increase the level of awareness as far as hand washing was concerned and also promote good nutrition which formed the reason for bringing on the brand at inception.
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Omeme said, “Lifebuoy is the world number one soap. It came at a point when the world was in the midst of diarrhoea epidemic after the Second World War. Since then, lifebuoy has been in the service of humanities trying to actually drive the awareness of nutrition and the impact of poor nutrition on children especially in Nigeria where mortality among children between the age of 5 and above is extremely high.
“As a matter of confirmation, it has been proven that basic hand washing actually reduces that incidence of disease by more than 50%. What we are doing is to carry on with the purpose of the brand lifebuoy. Secondly, it is the fact that we have just been through a major health emergency with lifebuoy contributing immensely through awareness creation and donation of soap to help drive the behavior. It is not just good enough to tell people how to wash hand but to give them the tool .
“That is what we are doing today. In Nigeria, we are giving a million free samples of lifebuoy to children to help them embed the behavior of hand washing . This donation you are seeing today has happened in key countries where we had this health challenge across West Africa. This is how Unilever has chosen to intervene to help restore our children with the right behaviours and ensure that we live a very healthy life.”
Asked if the donation is done only in Lagos , Okeme disagreed saying that donations were taking place simultaneously across the country.
He said, “This is not a one shot intervention we are doing .Lifebuoy runs a school program which goes to schools across the country to teach children. So, we have that as a regular service. By today, we have directly reached over 3 million school children to teach them the importance of hand washing. We have an ongoing service to drive awareness in that area. This is already happening across the country.
On her part, the principal of the school, Mrs. Kuti Toyin commended the company and the non governmental organization for the initiative.
She said, “I think Unilever as well as the NGO has really done well. You are aware that the ebola issue was really challenging for us as a nation. By this action, I want to appreciate them on behalf po the school, the state government. For me, this action is not about saving the child alone but saving the world.”
In his remarks, the representative of the NGO,Mr.Opeyemi Odedere Save the Children, harped on the importance of hand washing to personal hygiene stating that the intervention being made by Unilever will go a long way to promote healthy life among the children.
He said, “Prior to now, we have been hearing about prevention against disease. But we all know what led to this campaign, the Ebola issue which has been curtailed. But yet, we find it as an opportunity to chase it away by making sure we educate the children on preventive measures not only for Ebola built other diseases. This is an opportunity to also educate them on the essence of hand washing, keeping proper hygiene. Apart from the daily washing of hand, there are methods that are meant to be used to be able to wash the hand effectively.”