LifeStraw Water Purifier Introduced
THOUSANDS OF Ghanaians, especially those living in water-borne disease prone areas, would henceforth breathe a sigh of relief following the introduction of LifeStraw, an instant microbiological water purifier capable of removing at least 99.9 percent of bacteria, viruses and parasites that make water unsafe for consumption.
Vestergarrd Frandsen, an international company committed to providing safe drinking water and preventing illnesses created by water-borne diseases in developing countries, are the manufacturers of the new product which is yet to be introduced into the Ghanaian market.
LifeStraw, according to Vestergaard Frandsen, has the capacity to provide an average of 10 litres of purified water per hour and 10,000 litres over the product's lifecycle.
“The product has been extensively tested in the United States at the University of Arizona and complies with the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) guidelines for microbiological purifiers,” said Mr. Marcel Van Beek, Regional Director for Vestergaard Frandsen at the formal launch of the product in Accra on Wednesday February 6.
According to him, the product has been introduced at an opportune time considering the devastating effect water-borne diseases have had on millions of people worldwide.
Giving figures to prove this, he said more than 1 billion people across the world, representing 1/6 of the world's population do not have access to safe drinking water; whilst as many as 5 million people, mostly children, die each year from water-borne diseases.
Diarrhoea for instance, he stated, kills over 1.8 million people annually, whilst chronic Diarrhoea is a leading killer of people living with HIV and AIDS. He added that about 1.1 billion people worldwide are currently deprived of safe drinking water.
“In Africa, Diarrhoea is four times more common among children with HIV and seven times more common among adults with HIV than their HIV-negative household members.
“In a study among HIV-infected persons in Uganda, use of safe water decreased Diarrhoeal illness by 36 percent,” he reiterated.
The product, he explained, uses ultra filtration technology and is particularly good for people with compromised immune system who are at greater risk of becoming sick or dying from water-borne diseases.
Each package, he said, would go for $15 and would be made available at vantage points across the country in due course.
The Guest Speaker, Mr. Michael Forson, UNICEF Project Officer in-charge of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene noted that, “If households and individuals are sensitised to develop and use such household level options, water and sanitation related diseases will be brought to a minimum.
“I will like to emphasise that household level water and sanitation innovations should be encouraged by all and sundry engaged in the water and sanitation sector if we have to move forward,” he stressed.
He commended the Vestergaard Frandsen Group for the initiative and urged it to make samples available to people living in Guinea Worm and other water-borne disease endemic communities since they need it most.
The Health Minister, Maj. Courage Quashigah (rtd), in a speech read on his behalf, congratulated Vestergaard Frandsen and called on it to partner the ministry's Regenerative Health and Nutrition Project so as to help achieve Ghana's MDGs.