Procter & Gamble and CDC Collaboration Results in Landmark Public Health Contribution

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CINCINNATI -- The Procter & Gamble Company and the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) announce the

results of a study conducted by P&G and the national Centers for Disease

Control and Prevention (CDC) that demonstrated the effectiveness of household

hand washing with soap in preventing diarrhea among children at highest risk

of death from this illness. The study appears as the lead article in JAMA's

June 2004 special theme issue dedicated to global health.

The study demonstrated that household hand washing with soap reduces

diarrhea illnesses by about 50 percent. Additionally, the study showed that

household hand washing can prevent diarrhea among those who are most

vulnerable and at greatest risk of death -- children under the age of

12 months and those who are malnourished. Two million children die every year

from diarrhea caused by unsafe drinking water and poor hygiene and sanitation.

"This study suggests, that even among the most vulnerable, young, malnourished

children, hand washing with soap can save lives," said Steve Luby, MD,

medical epidemiologist with the CDC. "Our collaboration with P&G since 1995 has been a model for public-private partnerships. With studies like this one, we have made an

important joint-contribution to knowledge in the public health field."

The study, titled "Effect of Intensive Handwashing Promotion on Childhood


Diarrhea in High-Risk Communities in Pakistan: A Randomized Controlled Trial,"

was conducted over a one-year period ending in March 2003 in Karachi,

Pakistan. Karachi was selected for the study as a city representative of

living conditions in low-income, developing countries, where diarrhea can

cause substantial morbidity and mortality. The research was conducted in 900

households; 600 households received a regular supply of soap and 300

households nothing more than school supplies (control group).

In both soap and control groups, the field workers asked the mother, or

other caregiver, if the child had diarrhea (three or more loose stools within 24

hours) in the preceding week, and, if so, the number of days in the last week

the child was affected.

In these communities where diarrhea is the leading cause of childhood

death, promoting hand washing with soap halved the burden of diarrhea disease.

Additional public-private partnerships between P&G and local health

agencies in the Philippines, Pakistan, and China are also under way to help

consumers develop healthy handwashing habits that improve the health of


Scientific reference to the study: Luby SP, Agboatwalla M, Painter J,

Altaf A, Billhimer W, Hoekstra RM. Effect of Intensive Handwashing Promotion

on Childhood Diarrhea in High-Risk Communities in Pakistan: A Randomized

Controlled Trial, Journal of the American Medical Association, 2004 June 2,


Source: The Procter & Gamble Company