Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) welcomed the
launch of a revolutionary water purification product, PuR, a low-cost
yet effective way to ensure safe drinking water. PuR, a product
developed by the P&G Health Sciences Institute in cooperation with
international water care experts, purifies, clarifies and decontaminates
water, using technology that has been tested and found to be most
effective in improving water quality and preventing disease at the
household level in developing countries. The launch is accompanied by
the largest ever water-related educational campaign in Pakistan by a
private-public alliance. Pakistan Medical Association (PMA), the biggest
organization of doctors in Pakistan with 40,000 members is cooperating
with P&G for this initiative.
Dr. Qaisar Sajjad, General Secretary PMA Karachi,
opened the ceremony. He said that less than 30% people in the country
have access to safe drinking water and as many as 3 million Pakistanis
acquire water-borne infections annually, of which 1.2 million die. From
among them are about 250,000 Pakistani children under the age of five
who succumb to diarrhea, mainly caused by the use of untreated water. He
said that these were the reasons that PMA felt the need of active work
in this area.
Speaking next, Dr. Shershah Syed, Secretary General
PMA, said "PMA acknowledges that PuR is the most comprehensive
water treatment method available on the market, and the use of PuR for
the treatment of drinking water could counter bacteria, viruses,
pathogens, heavy metals such as arsenic and lead, organics, and
turbidity — impurities that may lead to Typhoid, Cholera, Dysentery,
Diarrhea, Hepatitis, and intestinal infections."
Dr. Shershah also referred to the various
international and local research organizations and publications that had
recognized PuR for effectiveness and deduced its excellent performance.
He said that the PuR technology had been validated world over and had
great potential for improving the state of health in Pakistan.
Highlighting the basis of cooperation between P&G
and PMA, Dr. Shershah Syed said that PMA's cooperation with P&G was
voluntary and with the strict aims of creating mass awareness about the
risk of water-borne disease and to provide an affordable and
comprehensive technology in order to prevent disease and save lives. He
emphasized that the PuR technology and the accompanying educational
campaign were not just a project but indeed a revolution in the health
Chairperson HOPE, Dr. Mubina Agboatwala who also
spoke at the occasion, mentioned the thorough health intervention
studies that she and others had conducted on PuR to prove its practical
effectiveness in communities. She said that PuR had been shown to
significantly reduce diarrhea illness in three health intervention
trials, one of which was conducted in Karachi by HOPE. She further
stated that the local communities had an urgent need of access to safe
water to thrive, prosper and be productive.
The last speaker of the event was Hans Dewaele,
Country Manager P&G Pakistan, who shared details of the PuR
educational campaign, stating, "Starting from today a 1400 strong
team will be going deep into Sindh to about 40 top cities, educating on
a one on one basis mothers, children, and heads of families of more than
1.66 million households. Specialized educational programs have been
prepared for each of our target groups including doctors and opinion
leaders. Dedicated medical professionals on behalf of Pakistan Medical
Association will take lead in educating the masses about the risks of
water contamination and effective water treatment."
He thanked the professional partners PMA and HOPE for
their committed support and said that all those who were involved with
the PuR campaign truly believed in its effectiveness: "We believe
we are ready for a revolution that is greatly needed, a revolution that
may prevent disease and save lives."
The event was organized by the PMA and P&G
together and boasted huge media presence. A surprise product
demonstration was carried out on samples of water collected from various
unsafe sources around the city, and those present were highly impressed
by the clear difference in the water after treatment with PuR.