P&G, CDC launch home water treatment in Uganda

A product that will allow low income people to purify their water at home has been launched in Uganda, where diarrhea is a major cause of illness and death in children under five and an estimated 50% of the population do not have access to safe water, by Procter & Gamble, nonprofit organization Population Services International (PSI) and the professional association International Council of Nurses (ICN)...

KAMPALA, Uganda, Dec. 16, 2004 (PRNewswire) -- A product that will allow low income people to purify their water at home has been launched in Uganda, where diarrhea is a major cause of illness and death in children under five and an estimated 50% of the population do not have access to safe water, by Procter & Gamble, nonprofit organization Population Services International (PSI) and the professional association International Council of Nurses (ICN).

The PUR Purifier of Water, developed by P&G in collaboration with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), uses the same ingredients as municipal water treatment facilities, but is packaged in a sachet allowing the user to treat water easily and affordably in the home. Each sachet treats 10 liters of water.

PSI is marketing the product at a price affordable to low income and at- risk populations and implementing a communication campaign to promote home water treatment and diarrhea prevention strategies such as hand-washing with soap and safe water storage. In December and January 2005, PSI is holding events throughout Uganda to increase awareness of safe water and PUR via such educational entertainment activities as dramas and interactive product demonstrations.

A critical component of the project is ICN's training of Ugandan nurses and midwives so that they can educate other health providers and local communities. ICN and its Ugandan affiliate, the Uganda National Association for Nurses & Midwives, are coordinating targeted outreach and product distribution to nurses, midwives and orphans.

The diarrhea prevalence rate in Uganda is 26.2% in rural areas and 21.3% in urban areas and research has shown that diarrhea responsible for 20% of morbidity and mortality in children under five. Currently, an estimated 50% of Ugandans have no access to safe water, according to UNICEF and the World Health Organization, and simple, low-cost interventions at the household and community level are capable of dramatically improving the microbial quality of household stored water and reducing risks of diarrhea disease and death. Point-of-use water treatment approaches like PUR have shown reductions of 30- 50% in diarrhea disease, and even higher reductions during water-borne epidemics.

Source: Population Services International (www.psi.org)

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