Three billion people – about 40% of the world’s population – live without basic handwashing facilities with soap and water available at home. 1 in 10 patients gets an avoidable infection while receiving care. Now, more than ever, the value of handwashing cannot be overstated. With the Coronavirus pandemic evoking fear and causing grief, brands and customers are taking extra measures to stay healthy, support their communities and deliver value.
To counter the infection rate, handwashing with soap has been widely emphasised as an effective preventive measure against COVID-19. Around 297,000 children – more than 800 every day – under five still die annually from diarrhoeal diseases due to poor hygiene, poor sanitation or unsafe drinking water. With the current situation, there has probably never been a campaign more timely or appropriate than Dettol’s Clean Naija campaign.
How It Started
The campaign “Dettol Clean Naija” first came into the limelight in 2016. Dettol’s parent company, Reckitt Benckiser (RB), released a new product, Dettol Multi-Surface Cleaner, along with a new campaign called “Dettol Clean Naija.” The new Dettol product and the public awareness campaign was launched at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, LUTH.
The product was recognised as a first of its kind in the surface-cleaning brand group, according to Oguzhan Silivrili, Marketing Director of RB West Africa. Silivrili espoused that the “Dettol Clean Naija” campaign also acted as a public awareness campaign to draw consumers’ attention to the importance of implementing best hygiene practices. The brand started cleaning places such as LUTH’s Emergency and Injury Unit, where maintaining a germ-free environment is crucial in preventing the spread of infectious diseases.
“This campaign brings like-minded institutions like LUTH and other health-conscious institutions across Nigeria to promote jointly best hygiene practices, including personal and surface hygiene. The Clean Naija initiative team will travel from city to city, and Nigerians will decide which places to clean through voting on the social media platforms”, Silivrili added.
Since then, the movement has adapted and developed, taking on various forms. In 2019 and 2020, the “Dettol Clean Naija Initiative” movement exploded in full force. It was able to do so because the message and its key objectives remained relevant.
‘Clean Hands for All’
Nigeria was among the top countries bearing a large portion of the global disease burden when the program was launched in full force in 2019. With over 150,000 children dying each year, she also ranked high among countries with high under-five mortality rates. Dettol recognised that proper handwashing habits and widespread hygiene education could prevent diseases like diarrhoea. The decision to launch the campaign was focused on these figures and evidence.
Appropriately, while the world commemorated World Hand Hygiene Day in 2019, Dettol took the Clean Naija initiative to Ojuwoye Market’s stalls in Mushin. At the event, the brand ambassador, Nollywood star Funke Akindele, launched its newly commissioned hand wash station. The brand celebrated Handwashing Day under the theme, ‘Clean Hands for All’.
The ‘Clean Naija Initiative’ was geared towards educating children on proper hand hygiene habits through the School Hygiene Program. A New Mum’s Program was also launched to educate pregnant and new mothers on hygienic practices. These hygienic activities can help them, and their children prevent diseases like diarrhoea, which can be fatal. About five million pregnant and new mothers have been trained on sanitary practices through the New Moms Initiative. Over seven million children have been educated on good hand hygiene habits through the School Hygiene Program over the last seven years.
Dettol’s parent company, Reckitt Benckiser, also collaborated with the Federal Ministry of Water Resources to tackle the evident problem of hygiene and sanitation in Nigeria.
Dayanand Sriram, the General Manager of RB West Africa, stated,
“Our health is in our hands. Hand washing a few times during the day prevents a lot of illnesses. In light of the panic around Coronavirus, we can do individually to carry out preventive actions, and constant hand hygiene is one of the most important ones in the fight against infectious diseases. RB is proud to partner with the Lagos State Government, and our goal is to reach 50,000 children in 20 local government areas of the state.”
“Your health is in your hands.”
With the onset of the pandemic, Dettol revived the project and promoted it vigorously. The brand emerged as one of the leading brands at the forefront of COVID-19 sensitisation programs in Nigeria, thanks to its flagship Dettol Clean Naija Initiative, a campaign designed to inform and accelerate behavioural change to create a cleaner and healthier Nigeria.
As part of its efforts to combat the spread of the killer coronavirus, Dettol partnered with the Lagos State Government’s Office of Sustainable Development Goals and Investment in March 2020 to educate primary school children in the state on how to stay healthy from infectious diseases like the Coronavirus and Lassa Fever. They also collaborated with more public sector organisations to provide hygiene education.
In addition, the company donated hygiene products to several states in support of the government’s efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. The gift is part of Dettol’s contribution to the state government’s stimulus package of relief materials for COVID-19-affected households.
Dettol’s campaign was appropriate and timely. No one at the brainstorming session for the campaign could have predicted a pandemic in 2020. Still, since the plan was relevant, it merely adapted and implemented it in the present.