Procter & Gamble (P&G) through their Children Safe Drinking Water Program yesterday marked a major milestone in their quest to provide 15 billion litres of water by 2020. This milestone was the fact that they had so far provided 10 billion litres of water worldwide with 850 million of this water going to the needy communities In Kenya. This milestone was celebrated in Wamunyu, Machakos county in an event attended by the Machakos First Lady Lilian Nganga. Since 2005 P&G has invested over Kshs.500 million and worked with 25 local and international partners in a bid to provide clean water to health clinics, schools and emergency relief efforts.
In a 2014 report World Health Organisation (WHO) indicated that 663 million people lack access to a clean water source. Of these people nearly half of them 319 million are in Sub-Saharn Africa. A 2015 WHO report also showed that 1,000 children are dying each day due to diseases caused by drinking contaminated water. These diseases include cholera, typhoid, diarrhea among others.
In Kenya, 37% of the population does not have access to clean drinking water. This can be evidenced by the fact that since 2015, water related diseases such as cholera and typhoid have affected communities in Nairobi, Eastern and Western provinces.
Children are particularly affected by the scourge. Diarrhoeal disease, usually caused by poor water quality, insufficient hygiene, or inadequate sanitation, is the third leading cause of death among children under five. It is estimated that almost 340,000 children globally die annually from these diseases – 3,100 of whom are Kenyans. This came as a surprise to me that 50 plus years after independence children could be dying at such a scale due to lack of clean water. Women and children also spend many hours collecting water and managing household water needs rather than attending school or earning income for their families.
It was on a quest to alleviate this suffering that P&G developed the Purifier of Water packets in collaboration with the United States Center for Disease Control and prevention. The packets purify even the most heavily contaminated water so that it meets the WHO standards for safe drinking water. The packets are safe to use due to the fact that they are made from the same ingredients used in Municipal water treatment systems. Each 4 gram packet is able to treat 10 liters of water which is enough for a family of 5 for one day. Once the water is treated the Purifier of water leaves residual chlorination so that the water remains usable for about a day. In order to treat the water one only requires readily available household implements such as a bucket, stir stick and a filter cloth. Due to the fact that the packets are portable and lightweight, they are also well suited for emergencies and natural disasters or hard to reach rural areas.
The water purification process follows these simple steps;
- Add the contents of 1 packet to 10 litres of water and stir. Continue stirring for 5 minutes until floc forms and the water becomes clear.
- Let the floc settle for 5 minutes after which you filter the water through a clean cotton cloth and dispose of the separated floc.
- Wait for 20 mins before drinking the water to allow for complete disinfection. Store in a suitable container to prevent recontamination.
These packets only retail for Kshs.10 and are distributed by select agents with a focus on arid and semi-arid areas.