Lifebuoy, Unilever’s health soap brand, was today relaunched in Nigeria, as the brand also unveiled renowned Afro-pop singer-songwriter, Omawumi Megbele, as its new ambassador during an event held in Lagos on Thursday, 6 September, 2018.

In partnership with NGOs, Lifebuoy’s ‘Help a Child Reach 5’ global campaign will also advance critical hygiene interventions such as handwashing with soap to address child mortality due to preventable diseases in Nigeria.

Speaking at the launch event, Osato Evbuomwan, Category Manager, Skin Cleansing, Unilever Nigeria Plc. said, “Private corporations can play important roles in impacting the survival of the society, and through the Lifebuoy brand, Unilever is absolutely committed to changing the hygiene behaviour of a billion people worldwide by 2020. With strategic partnerships, we can expand programs to drive lasting and impactful change within Nigerian communities”.

Giving the keynote speech, Deputy Director, Co-curricular Department, Lagos State Ministry of Education, Ogunlamoye Ayodeji said, “As a nation, our growth depends solely on the education of the majority of our people but not many are willing to apply their knowledge for benefit of the nation. 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”.

The deputy director also commended Unilever and Lifebuoy for the initiative and pledged the government’s support and commitment in line with the state policy on public/private participation.

Nigerian singer and Lifebuoy’s newest brand ambassador, Omawumi said, “As a mother of two young children, I simply cannot imagine losing them to preventable infections. It is a shame that hundreds of thousands of Nigerian children die before their fifth birthday each year, so we have to take further steps to address this issue. I’m thrilled to partner with Lifebuoy to empower parents with the lifesaving message of handwashing with soap. I look forward to lending my voice and influence to advance this wonderful effort”.

Dr. Sunday Isiyaku, Country Director, Sightsavers, further 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.

Mrs Amy Oyekunle, CEO, Wellbeing Foundation Africa, commented that, “Newborn babies are vulnerable to infections, which is why ensuring access and availability to skilled care under hygienic conditions is imperative. Along with Lifebuoy, we seek to empower mothers in Nigeria through our MamaCare classes, led by qualified midwives, to help make handwashing with soap an everyday habit early on. This partnership supports our global campaign, led by our Founder-President, Her Excellency, Mrs Toyin Ojora Saraki, to ensure mothers and their babies survive and thrive.”

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

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