Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Health has signed a Memorandum of Understanding, MOU, with UNILEVER to re-introduce and ensure sustainability of the Schools Oral Health Programme.
The programme had been launched in 2013 in Bwari Area Council in the Federal Capital Territory.
A press statement by the ministry disclosed that the memorandum was signed at the commemoration of the 6th Edition of the National Oral Health Week in Abuja on Tuesday.
Speaking at the ceremony, the Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole, said while oral health is paramount to achieving general health, oral diseases and disorders not only affect the victim’s quality of life, but also the well-being of the community at large.
He disclosed that the ministry was working with development partners to ensure sustainability of the schools oral health programme.
Mr. Adewole, a professor of medicine, said that Colgate-Palmolive Nigeria was planning one of such global oral health initiatives, “Bright Smiles, Bright Future”, targeted at school children across the country from the ages of 6 to 8 years.
The minister said the project has been successful in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and 25 other countries around the world where it has made an immense difference to the oral hygiene of children.
According to the minister, Unilever Nigeria Limited has accepted to undertake the initiative in collaboration with his Ministry by providing facilities to 10 million school children across the country through the Pepsodent School Oral Health Initiative.
Mr. Adewole said that these school health programmes were aimed at increasing the child’s responsibility for oral health, promote positive self-esteem as well as proper habits for oral hygiene, and encourage schools and families to play their roles in children’s oral health.
He pointed out that the ministry had been working on the National Oral Health Programme, towards integrating oral health into primary health care via a rapid oral health intervention programmes with focus on Noma (also known as Cancrum Oris).
In his remarks, the President of the Nigerian Dental Association, Olabode Ijarogbe, praised the minister for his passion for oral health.
Mr. Ijarogbe said the minister had put measures in place that have helped to drive the implementation of the national oral health policy to enhance oral health care delivery to average Nigerians.