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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