U.S. Water News Online
NEW YORK -- PSI and several partners have launched the Safe
Drinking Water Alliance, a new public-private initiative created to
increase access to safe drinking water by low income people in
developing countries. The Alliance will provide another opportunity
for PSI to provide innovative approaches to fight diarrheal diseases,
which account for an estimated 2 million child deaths every year.
PSI joins with the U.S. Agency for International Development
(USAID), Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health/Center for
Communication Programs (CCP), CARE and Procter & Gamble to
leverage their respective expertise and resources to better
understand the behaviors and motivations for choosing particular
technologies for treating household water, to share the knowledge
gained, and identify opportunities for scaling up successful efforts
to provide safe drinking water.
The Safe Drinking Water Alliance, officially launched at the
United Nations' Commission on Sustainable Development meeting, will
receive $1.4 million over the next 18 months from USAID through the
Global Development Alliance. USAID's financial contribution is
leveraging substantial in-kind and financial contributions from
Procter & Gamble (estimated at approximately $3.5 million), as
well as technical and program support resources from other partners.
"We are delighted to support the Safe Drinking Water Alliance to
help make water safe in Haiti, Pakistan, and elsewhere," said Holly
Wise, director of USAID's Global Development Alliance. "This unique
public-private partnership pools resources to attack a problem
responsible for the death of an estimated 5,000 children per day
around the globe, and USAID is proud to be a contributing partner."
About 1.1 billion people around the globe lack access to an
improved water source, and even for those who do, unsanitary handling
and storage means household water for drinking and food preparation
is often unsafe. Unsafe water, sanitation and hygiene practices cause
the vast majority of diarrheal diseases, a leading killer of children
under five that accounts for approximately 2 million child deaths
every year. Water-borne infections such as cholera, typhoid fever,
and dysentery also burden the public health system and impose
significant economic losses.
Low-cost solutions can dramatically improve the quality of
existing household water used for drinking and cooking. Procter &
Gamble has developed a new product, PuR, which purifies water using
technology that has been found to be effective in improving water
quality and preventing disease at the household level in developing
countries. Reductions of 30% to 50% in diarrheal disease have been
documented using such point-of-use treatment approaches, with even
higher reductions during epidemic water-borne disease outbreaks.
The Alliance will test the acceptance of P&G's water treatment
product using different approaches tailored to country need. Using
these technologies in combination with behavior change strategies
will help ensure safe water practices are sustained at the household
level over the long term.
The Alliance members belong to the International Network to
Promote Household Water Treatment and Safe Storage, a global network
of more than 20 organizations that recognizes the potential for using
low-cost water quality interventions to reduce the risk of diarrhea
disease and death. The Alliance will begin work in Pakistan, Haiti,
and another to-be-determined country where an emergency limits access
to safe drinking water.
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