Statistics indicate that upto 37% of Kenyans do not have access to clean water. This is evidenced by the fact that since last year water related diseases such as cholera and typhoid have affected communities in the former Nairobi, Eastern and Western provinces. Children bear the blunt of this lack of clean water with the diarrheal disease caused by poor water quality and insufficient hygiene being the third leading cause of death of children under five. Globally it is estimated that 340,000 children globally die annually from these diseases – 3,100 of whom are Kenyans, which is sad actually.
It is such facts that led Proctor & Gamble to launch their water purification packets in Kenya. I have to say that the packets which cost only Kshs.10 have done wonders to uplift the lives of those who previously did not have access to clean water. In this article we will explore the benefits that accrue from having access to clean water that is guaranteed by the P&G water purification packets.
As we have seen, lack of clean water leads to the death of as many as 3,100 Kenyan children annually from water borne diseases. The sad fact about this is that such deaths are actually preventable. Communities which have embraced the P&G water purification packets have been able to prevent deaths of both adults and children alike. These children have now been given a chance to lead healthy and productive lives.
We all know that nowadays without some form of education one cannot get far in life. Those without access to clean water are not able to get good education due to the frequent absenteeism due to illnesses that are brought about by lack of clean water. This particularly affects girls as most schools lack private and decent sanitation facilities. This means that children from areas that lack clean drinking water are unable to compete with those in areas with clean water and this leaves them at a disadvantage later on in life.
Better Time Management
In areas without clean water, women spend 40 billion hours each year collecting and managing household water needs rather earning incomes for their families. This means that such households often have to rely on the man as the sole bread winner which basically means that they will have to make do with lower incomes as opposed to a situation whereby both parents are able to work. Ultimately this leads to a vicious cycle of poverty that is hard to break away from. Access to clean water can free up the women to engage in work that can serve to uplift the standards of living of their families and break away from the cycle of poverty.
When one falls sick it means that one cannot be able to work and earn a living. There is also cost that is incurred from having to pay for medicals bills with meagre incomes. It is simply a disaster when poor farmers and wage earners fall sick. However, having access to clean water enables wage earners to eliminate the risk of contracting these preventable water borne diseases which translates to better productivity in their work places. They also avoid paying for high medical bills which deplete their already meagre incomes.
When people get sick from these water borne diseases they usually head to the government owned hospitals that offer subsidized services. This eventually overwhelms the health systems as they might not be able to handle the influx in case of an outbreak of a disease like Cholera. This thus forces the government to shift resources from other development projects in order to contain such an outbreak. This essentially means that the national economy will suffer as most of the funds are used to treat preventable diseases rather than creating growth opportunities. It is by eliminating such preventable diseases through guaranteeing access to clean water that we can ensure our economy grows by freeing up resources and also reducing downtime of the productive members of our society.