Hairy tales

From today’s Guardian.

Public knowledge about dandruff in Pakistan’s army comes mainly from a study called Knowledge, Attitude and Practice Regarding Dandruff Among Soldiers, written by Naeem Raza, Amer Ejaz and Muhammad Khurram Ahmed, published in 2007 in the Journal of the College of Physicians and Surgeons, Pakistan.

Raza, Ejaz and Ahmed surveyed 800 male soldiers of all ranks, ascertaining each soldier’s knowledge about, and personal experience with, dandruff. The survey was “designed keeping in mind the general taboos of our region about dandruff, which included visits to doctors, homeopathic physicians or ‘akims’, use of oils, any home-made remedies or commercial products”.

If this sampling of soldiers was truly representative, we now know that approximately 65% of Pakistani soldiers have, or have had, dandruff “either permanently or periodically”.

“Almost two thirds of the respondents stated to remain tense and embarrassed because of their dandruff.”Noting that the “media has played an important role in making people think like that”, the study concludes with a recommendation. Healthcare professionals should make a greater effort to educate the populace.

Quite so. But Pakistan’s leaders should nevertheless keep their hair on (as we say in the UK).