LifeStraw® Family - Introduction
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. In many rural and urban areas of the developing world, household water-quality interventions can reduce diarrhoea morbidity by more than 40%3,4. 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 households5.
Water filters have been shown to be the most effective interventions amongst all point-of-use water treatment methods for reducing diarrhoeal diseases. The Cochrane3 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® Family is a point-of-use instant microbiological water purifier – a truly unique offering from Vestergaard Frandsen that addresses the concern for affordably obtaining safe drinking water at home. LifeStraw® Family has the potential to further the realisation of 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 environmental sustainability.
1. WHO and UNICEF. 2008. Joint Monitoring Programme for Water Supply and Sanitation
2. UNICEF and WHO. 2009. Diarrhoea: Why children are still dying and what can be done
3. Clasen T. et al. 2006. Interventions to improve water quality for preventing diarrhea (A Cochrane Review). The Cochrane Library (3). Oxford: Update Software
4. Fewtrell L. et al. 2005. Water, sanitation, and hygiene interventions to reduce diarrhea in less developed countries: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Lancet Infectious Diseases (5): 42–52
5. International Finance Corporation (World Bank Group). Safe Water for All: Harnessing the Private Sector to Reach the Underserved
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LifeStraw is now available for sale from reputable retailers in the US and Canada for individual customers: http://eartheasy.com/lifestraw-store-locations
LifeStraw® Carbon For Water
More than four million people in Western Province, Kenya now have access to safe and clean drinking water purified up to EPA standards through the LifeStraw® Family. This $30 million public health program, which will last ten years, will be funded by carbon offsets. Learn more at www.carbonforwater.com
See the program in action in award-winning documentary at www.carbonforwaterfilm.com
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Coca-Cola Denmark, Vestergaard Frandsen and nonprofit Water For All distribute 27,000 LifeStraw® to Kenyan community, students, and educators. Read more.