The event was organized by the PMA and P&G together and boasted huge media presence

June 21 - 27, 2004

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 sector.

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.