The Federal Ministry of Health has renewed a Memorandum of Understanding with Unilever Nigeria PLC to reach over five million Nigerian children to improve their oral health education by year 2020.
Prof. Isaac Adewole, Minister of Health, made this known while briefing newsmen as part of activities to commemorate the 2018 Oral Health week on Monday in Abuja.
Represented by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Abdulazeez Abdullahi, Adewole said the ministry had earlier signed an MoU with Unilever Nigeria during the 2016 National Oral Health week.
He said: “Since 2016 till date, about 4.5 million Nigerian school children have been reached on oral health education and oral health behavioural change programmes in Abia, Lagos, Rivers, Ondo, Delta and Enugu states.
“Today, the MOU will be renewed to reach out to other school children in more states of the federation.’’
Adewole also disclosed that the Dentistry Division in collaboration with the Non-Communicable Diseases Division would incorporate an oral health component into the National Steps Survey on Non-Communicable Diseases.
He said the survey to commence soon was aimed at getting a more recent national data on oral diseases in Nigeria.
The minister recalled that the maiden edition of the National Oral Health week was held in 2011, in line with the National Oral Health policy to increase public awareness on Oral Health in Nigeria.
He said this year’s event would be observed from Dec. 10 to 14 with the theme “Strengthening and Fostering Collaborations to improve the Oral Health of Nigerians’’.
In his remark, David Ebah, Regional Sales Director, Unilever Nigeria, said that from the inception of the partnership, the company had reached five million children.
He added that the children were from over 5000 public and private schools in 19 states of the federation.
Ebah said: “We are determined to reach other five million children to improve their lives by 2020.
“This is part of our global oral care social mission agenda to improve the oral health of 100 million people by 2020.”
Dr Seidu Bello, Chief Executive Officer, Cleft and Facial Deformity Foundation, commended government’s commitment towards improving oral health in the country.
He reiterated the commitment of the foundation to collaborate with government and key stakeholders to offer free cleft and facial deformity surgeries across the country.
According to him, the foundation has provided over 1,027 free surgeries in the past eight years across Nigeria.