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Reckitt, ministry renew MoU to promote hygiene

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Reckitt Nigeria, makers of global hygiene brands, Dettol and Harpic, has recently renewed its Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with The Federal Ministry of Water Resources on the Clean Naija Initiative to achieve a cleaner and healthier Nigeria.

The Clean Naija Initiative signing ceremony was attended by the Minister of Water Resources, Engineer Suleiman Hussein Adamu alongside other top officials of the Ministry as well as the leadership team of Reckitt Nigeria and members of the press. Speaking at the signing ceremony, General Manager, Reckitt Sub-Saharan Africa, Akbar Ali Shah stated, “Reports place Nigeria among the top nations that bear a significant portion of the global disease burden and high under-5 mortality rates, and recent reports have estimated that 46 million Nigerians still defecate in the open.

Many of these diseases such as diarrhoea can be prevented by practicing proper hand washing habits and wide-scale hygiene education. We are elated to renew the partnership with the Federal Ministry of Water Resources on the Clean Naija Initiative, and this is a confirmation of the initiative’s success in the last three years.” Speaking on the successes of the initiative, Shah mentioned that through its Dettol brand, “Reckitt Nigeria has initiated hygiene educational programmes committed to tackling some of these issues.

They include the School Hygiene and New Mum’s Programme, through which the brand has educated millions of children, and mothers on proper hand hygiene habits. He continued; we also evolved our school hygiene programme with the introduction of a structured hygiene curriculum called ‘The Hygiene Quest’.

The curriculum aims to educate children aged between six to eight years about hygiene and change behaviours. It comprises a range of modules that use comics, mini-games, physical worksheets, and activities to deliver learning. The curriculum was piloted in public schools in all 20 local government areas (LGAs) within Lagos State, and our impact end-line assessment showed a 34 per cent increase in knowledge of proper handwashing and a seven per cent reduction in diarrhoea amongst the participants after the intervention. We intend to extend this curriculum to other states when the school year resumes in September 2022”.

In his remarks, the Minister of Water Resources, Engineer Suleiman Hussein Adamu said, “The report of the 2022 WASHNORM survey indicated that we still have a lot to do towardsmeetingtheSustainableDevelopment Goal (SDGs) for Water and Sanitation, with access to basic water, sanitation and hygiene services estimated as 67 per cent, 46 per cent, and17percentrespectivelyasat2021”. Wewill continuetodrivetheenablingenvironmentfor private sector players to contribute and invest acrossthewater, sanitation, andhygienevalue chain which can make significant contributions to the nation’s economic indices.

We welcomeReckittand other privatesector organisations as a veritable partner in this journey.” In her welcome address, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Water Resources, Mrs. Didi Walson- Jack, explained that the MoU signing is a demonstration of the ministry’scontinuedcommitmenttoimprovedsanitation in Nigeria. “We have high expectations that this partnership will continue to contribute significantly to improving sanitation and hygiene services, behaviour and practices in Nigeria with the attendant benefits on health, productivity, education, and economy, among other benefits.” She added.

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