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Mass disinfection drive in Pakistan during Covid-19


Affan Khan leads efforts with Domex (Domestos) brand

Affan Khan, Unilever Hero, who led a disinfection drive in Pakistan, helping to keep mosques safe during Ramadan

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Around 45% of Pakistan’s urban population live in slums. Families live in a single room, streets are narrow and front doors are often just a metre apart. Social distancing cannot be made a reality. As Covid reached the country, Affan Khan, who works in Home Care as Assistant Brand Manager for Sunlight & Liquids, realised how vulnerable these densely populated areas were.

“Living near a slum, I knew how difficult it would be for people to actually disinfect and understand the preventive measures that are needed to keep coronavirus at bay,” he says.

Mass disinfection

Affan’s response was immediate. Recognising the need to disinfect public places, he made contact with local government officials to set up a mass disinfection drive. “The idea was to disinfect potential hotspots for coronavirus,” he explains. Within days, he had galvanised stakeholders – internal and external – into action. Affan works in the Home Care division but not on the Domex (Domestos) brand. But he brought together different functions and categories to move mountains at a time when the big institutions hadn’t even woken up to the challenge. The drive reached 30 cities.

Looking rather like spacemen, the disinfection teams – wearing full-body protective clothing – had containers of Domex disinfectant strapped to their backs and sprayed public places.

All types of buildings likely to present a Covid risk were covered: hospitals, jails, police stations, welfare organisations and government offices, together with densely populated apartment complexes. Vulnerable slums also received visits from the spraying teams during the drive. The practical disinfection efforts were coupled with education drills for residents, ensuring they could continue doing it on their own afterwards.

Men at work, with containers of Domex disinfectant strapped to their backs

Safer worship during Ramadan

In April, with cases still rising, Ramadan was approaching. The government planned to reopen mosques for worship, increasing the risk to public health and safety. So Affan extended the mass disinfection drive to mosques. Over 1,000 places of worship were disinfected. The contact at each mosque was given a month’s supply of Domex and in-depth hygiene education was provided.

Man mopping the entrance to a large building, using Domestos

The impact of the mass disinfection initiative has been immense. Over 1 million citizens were directly protected, 1,500 public places were disinfected and countless families have benefited. The efforts of Affan and Unilever have made a contribution to controlling the virus in Pakistan.

“The feeling you get when you know you have made a difference in someone’s life… it’s so gratifying,” says Affan. “Unilever has played a huge role in making sure the [Covid] numbers stay low in Pakistan.”

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