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Safeguard celebrates first ever Global Handwashing Day in Pakistan


Karachi, 15th October, 2008: 600,000 children pledged with Safeguard and its partners, under the patronage of Ministry of Environment and UNICEF, to celebrate the first-ever Global Handwashing Day (GHD) in Pakistan. Procter & Gamble, manufacturer of leading anti-bacterial soap Safeguard, has been selected by The Public-Private Partnership for Handwashing with Soap (PPPHW) as lead organization for GHD in Pakistan for its sustained commitment to hygiene awareness.

GHD is a global awareness drive on hand washing with soap which is the one of the most effective ways to prevent diarrheal diseases and pneumonia. GHD was the centerpiece of a week of activities that mobilized millions of people in more than 20 countries across all five continents to wash their hands with soap and to raise awareness about benefits of handwashing with soap. Keeping this concern in mind, Safeguard has successfully mobilized more than 50 public & private stakeholders on the platform of GHD including the Ministries of Health and Environment, UNICEF, WHO, USAID and many other development sector organizations to cultivate a culture of handwashing with soap, and to manifest its vision for a healthier nation.

Speaking at the occasion, Mr. Jawed Ali Khan, Director General (Environment), Ministry of Environment said, "We are proud to be associated with P&G's Safeguard as a leading partner in Global Handwashing Day. Partnerships among national and local governments, international organizations, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and multinational, as well, as local soap manufacturers can be extremely effective in promoting handwashing with soap. In the long term, GHD can become a powerful platform for advocacy aimed at policy makers and key stakeholders and an occasion for concrete public commitment to actions that will spur behavior change. We would like to thank the P&G Safeguard team for leading this initiative in Pakistan, and the Safeguard brand for touching and improving the lives of thousands of Pakistani children."

Elaborating on the concept of GHD, Asim Naseer, Director Marketing, P&G expressed, "In Pakistan, 670,000 children are estimated to be absent from schools everyday due to illness. Safeguard's mission is to reduce school absenteeism due to illness through handwashing habit change at the grassroots level in Pakistan. Over the past 5 years, Safeguard through its Sehat-o-Safai school education program and inspirational Commander Safeguard cartoon series has been successful in promoting health education to more then 5 million children in 14,000 schools nationwide." He further highlighted that, "GHD presents an opportunity to shine a spotlight on the state of handwashing in Pakistan. Every year in Pakistan more than 250,000 children die from diarrhea. Research has proven that regular handwashing with soap reduces the incidence of diarrhea by up to 50%, therefore the simple message of handwashing becomes a message for survival."

"Safeguard believes children are potential agents of change and imparting education on the importance of handwashing with soap will enable them to adopt healthy habits early in life", said Najia Amin, External Relations Manager, P&G Pakistan. She further added "Through our hygiene education programs including celebrations of Global Handwashing Day, we hope to make handwashing with soap an inherent part of children's daily lives and help reduce incidence of illnesses like diarrhea and pneumonia among children."

During the GHD week, children, school teachers and parents joined hands with celebrities, government officials, NGO ambassadors, members of the media fraternity and the private sector to raise awareness of handwashing with soap. Five different schools observed 'Safeguard Health Days' where thousands of children participated in drama, declamation, art and handwashing activities to promote the message of health and hygiene.

Notes to the Editor

About Safeguard:
Safeguard is a leading antibacterial soap in Pakistan that provides germ protection for the entire family. Launched in Pakistan in 1995 by Procter & Gamble (P&G), Safeguard has set new standards for defining "health & hygiene" in Pakistan. Safeguard's vision is to build a healthier Pakistan by working at a grass root level with the medical community to empower and enable masses to adopt healthy hygienic practices.

About P&G:
Three billion times a day, P&G brands touch the lives of people around the world. The company has one of the strongest portfolios of trusted, quality, leadership brands, including Pampers®, Ariel®, Always®, Pantene®, Oral-B®, Head & Shoulders®, Safeguard and Vicks. The P&G community consists of 138,000 employees working in over 80 countries worldwide. Since P&G commenced its operations in Pakistan in 1991, Pakistanis have trusted P&G brands to make their everyday lives better. This spirit of commitment has been mutual and has inspired P&G to grow to be one of the leading consumer products companies in the country.

Please visit http://www.pg.com for the latest news and in-depth information about P&G and its brands.

About PPPHW:
The Public-Private Partnership for Handwashing with Soap (PPPHW) is a coalition of international handwashing stakeholders. Established in 2001, the partnership includes the Water and Sanitation Program, UNICEF, USAID, the World Bank, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health, Colgate-Palmolive, Procter & Gamble, Unilever, the USAID/Hygiene Improvement Project, and the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council.

For further information, please visit:

http://www.globalhandwashingday.org/Safeguard_pakistan.asp

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