The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) call for a reduction of the
proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water by
half between 1990 and 2015. Yet, an estimated 884 million people in the
world, 37% of whom live in Sub-Saharan Africa, still use unimproved sources
of drinking water1.
Lack of access to safe drinking water contributes to the staggering burden
of diarrhoeal diseases worldwide, particularly affecting the young, the
immuno compromised and the poor. Nearly one in five child deaths – about 1.5
million each year – is due to diarrhoea. Diarrhoea kills more young children
than AIDS, malaria and measles combined2.
Drinking contaminated water also leads to reduced personal productive time,
with widespread economic effects.
Approximately 43% of the global population, especially the lower-income
populace in the remote and rural parts of the developing world, is deprived
of household safe piped water. Thus, there is a pressing need for effective
and affordable options for obtaining safe drinking water at home.
Point-of-use (POU) treatment is an alternative approach, which can
accelerate the health gains associated with the provision of safe drinking
water to the at-risk populations. It empowers people to control the quality
of their drinking water. Treating water at the household level or other
point of use also reduces the risk of waterborne disease arising from
recontamination during collection, transport, and use in the home, a
well-known cause of water-quality degradation3.
In many rural and urban areas of the developing world, household
water-quality interventions can reduce diarrhoea morbidity by more than 40%4,5.
Treating water in the home offers the opportunity for significant health
gains at potentially dramatic cost savings over conventional improvements in
water supplies, such as piped water connections to households6.
Water filters have been shown to be the most effective interventions amongst
all point-of-use water treatment methods for reducing diarrhoeal diseases7.
The Cochrane review demonstrates that it is not enough to treat water at the
point-of-source; it must also be made safe at the point-of-consumption.
LifeStraw® and LifeStraw® Family are both point-of-use water interventions –
truly unique offerings that address the concern for affordably obtaining
safe drinking water at home and outside. These complementary safe water
tools have the potential to accelerate progress towards the MDG target of
providing access to safe drinking water, which would yield health and
economic benefits; thus contributing to the achievement of other MDGs like
poverty reduction, childhood survival, school attendance, gender equality
and environment sustainability.
Those interested in buying or seeking more information about LifeStraw should either
contact Lord Paul Johnson or Courtney Bailey.