Written by Ijeoma UKAZU

Reckitt Benckiser, NGO propose N7bn partnership on diarrhoea

As part of efforts to ensure a diarrhoea-free Nigeria, a world leading consumer health and hygiene company, Reckitt Benckiser, RB, and Save The Children, have proposed a N7.2 billion partnership with the Federal Government to eradicate diarrhoea.

The disease annually claims nearly 100,000 lives of children under age 5 in the country. 

In a statement made available to our correspondent in Lagos, RB's West Africa and global team members along with Save The Children representatives, disclosed this when they visited Vice President Yemi Osinbajo to share the proposal and discuss areas of partnership.

Managing Director, RB West Africa, Rahul Murgai, revealed that ‘one child dies every minute’ under the age of 5 from preventable diseases, specifically diarrhoea, adding that the ground breaking ‘Save a Child a Minute’ program in partnership with Save The Children and Lagos State government being piloted in Shomolu LGA is geared towards reducing prevalence and incidence of diarrhoea by 50 percent and mortality by 80 percent. 

Murgai said, "what makes the program ground breaking is that for the first time, a holistic approach on the World Health Organisation, WHO, 7-point plan is being implemented in Africa. Learning is being shared with the Federal Government in anticipation of creating a national movement to fast track the program." 

According to RB's managing director, the Water and Sanitation Program Research reports that Nigeria loses N455 billion annually, which is 1.3 percent of GDP, to poor sanitation and hygiene which increases the risk of disease, malnutrition, making it an urgent priority for all stakeholders, adding that the implementation of National Health Act, Rota-Virus and Wash policy will all contribute to making Nigeria healthier. 

As part of ongoing commitment, Murgai said the company has already reached 5 million mothers and 3.9 million school children over the last 6 years to improve maternal health and reduced infant mortality in line with Nigeria commitments to the Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs. 

He added, "with Dettol a trusted name among Nigerian households and mothers, we have been actively partnering with Ministry of Health, Nigerian Medical Association, Save The Children and other NGOs to create scaled awareness around good health and hygiene." 

He, however, added that RB's global vision is to provide its consumers with innovative solutions for healthier lives and happier homes, adding that its over 50 years operation, Nigeria remains key priority market for continued investment. 

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