Reckitt Benckiser Pakistan (RB), manufacturer of Dettol, has announced its long-term commitment to fighting diarrhea and improving health and hygiene practices in Pakistan during a press briefing held at Dhori village in Sargodha district. The announcement was made by Patricia O’Hayer, Global Head of External Communications and Affairs during her visit to Pakistan to evaluate the progress of the pilot project. The project is aimed at reducing the incidence of diarrhea and improving health, hygiene and sanitation practices of the low-income households. “RB’s commitment to Pakistan involves initiating and sustaining such projects that can improve health and hygiene within the country. With this project RB aims to reduce the incidence of diarrhea, particularly among children, and prevent child deaths due to diseases such as diarrhea” she said. It is to be noted that diarrhea is the second leading cause of death from a preventable disease for children under 5 years of age. Pakistani children suffer from 25 million cases of diarrhea every year, with 53,300 child deaths due to diarrhea related causes annually.
The campaign’s pilot, “Sehatmand Gharanay, Khushhal Pakistan”, was conducted in collaboration with Plan International, an NGO that already has several Water, Sanitation and Hygiene initiatives across Punjab and many others all over Pakistan. RB’s collaboration and implementation of the innovative behavior change model has shown accelerated results. RB has also been instrumental in making the idea sustainable and empowering women by introducing an inclusive business model. Women, referred to as hygienists, from within the local community are empowered to become messengers of health and hygiene to households within the village. They carry a basket of products which is prepared in partnership with other private companies and includes excellent quality products at highly subsidized rates. The purpose of this campaign is to improve homes and lives across Pakistan through positive behavior change and to deliver a sustainable community engagement model by empowering women to take the lead in protecting their family health.
During the discussion with media, RB Pakistan’s Chief Executive, Shahzeb Mahmood, emphasized the fact that the Company’s business is directly related to improving public health and hygiene through introducing good sanitary practices in each home. He further stated, “The phrase charity begins at home applies above all to ensuring adoption of a hygienic lifestyle by all citizens. This is largely missing in low-income households.This is a leading cause of diseases such as diarrhea which further results in high infant mortality. RB has therefore launched this campaign to bring about sustainable behavior change through education and direct community involvement in improving health, hygiene and sanitation practices of these low-income households. We already have the government’s endorsement and look forward to the government’s continued support to have a far reaching impact across Pakistan.”