Mortein Brand spokesperson, Omawumi Megbele, has strengthened Reckitt Benckiser-backed Africa anti-malaria initiative with a call on governments, institutions and relevant stakeholders including mothers to join hands in the ongoing global effort to stamp out malaria in Africa.
Omawumi, who was on her second advocacy campaign for the eradication of malaria scourge in Africa to Nairobi, the Kenya capital, at the weekend expressed concern that although malaria remained one of the common causes of death in the continent, it was preventable if concerned stakeholders could join hands.
The initiative was facilitated by Reckitt Benckiser’s Mortein insecticide brand.
Speaking at various fora where she addressed senior Kenyan government officials, health workers, representatives of multilateral and development partners as well as new mothers, the Nigerian singer said she was in the country to raise awareness among pregnant and new mums on how they can prevent themselves, their babies and members of their families from mosquitoes which are the carriers of malaria parasites.
“Protecting Africa against the scourge of the killer disease malaria is a fight that requires our collective effort. Although malaria-related deaths in Africa have fallen by an estimated 33 percent since the year 2000, we have a long way to go before we can proudly announce that we have won the fight against malaria,” Omawumi said at a media briefing in Nairobi.
On her motivation for leading the cause to eradicate malaria, she explained that expectant mothers and children under the age of five remained the most vulnerable group, and she was deeply concerned.
“As a mother I understand that malaria is the number one killer of little children and mothers in Africa. I’ve taken it upon myself to educate and empower women who are the pillars of the home to fight malaria by taking necessary measures so that one day Africa will be malaria free,” she said.
She added that there was need to raise awareness and communicate more to encourage all mothers to take preventive measures so that African countries could meet the Millennium Development Goals on Malaria.
“The proper usage of the insecticide treated mosquito nets, indoor residual spraying, everyday use of Mortein Doom insecticide and taking proactive vector control measures by keeping the environment clean and free of stagnant water, are among the measures that mothers need to start implementing now, to prevent more malaria deaths,” she advised.
Speaking also, Reckitt Benckiser Country Manager, Mr. Richard Pereira, said the initiative demonstrated the company’s commitment to helping people to live a healthy and active life thereby empowering them to live a fulfilled life.
“Through our flagship brand Mortein Doom, we have been engaging in awareness initiatives in collaboration with the Ministry of Health among other stakeholders in the fight against malaria, and we are delighted at the positive impact of this kind of collaboration,” he said.
He added that the educative campaign was a strategic corporate social investment for the company to help bring down malaria scourge in Africa, noting that Reckitt Benckiser brands were committed to the promotion of wellness and healthy lifestyle in our consumers through a number of impactful initiatives.
“We want people to know that malaria is preventable and each of us has a role to play. There is absolute the need for all to work together and that is the reason we have initiated partnership with a number of multilateral and development institutions like USAID/PMI, UNICEF, DFID, WHO, AMREF and NGOs,” he stressed.
On the choice of Omawumi as the face of the initiative, Pereira added that “research proves that use of entertainment personalities helps to entrench messages more effectively thus the association with an African music star such as Omawumi.”
During the two-day visit to Kenya, Omawumi visited a number of hospitals including Kenyatta National Hospital Maternity wing among other public facilities to interact with mothers and presented them with Mortein products. She also held radio personality interviews to speak more about her passion for women empowerment including the malaria eradication campaign. She also performed the Malaria Song at a breakfast conference.