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New Techniques and Technologies for Scaling Up Household Water Treatment

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1.1 billion people do not have access to drinking water from improved sources (18% of world's population). Up to an estimated 4 billion diarrheal episodes occur per year (1.2b associated with water), with up to 3.5 million deaths. Every day diarrheal diseases kill 5,000 young children. In many parts of the world a plumbed water supply may not be safe to drink because of microbial contamination. Sometimes water in municipal schemes is not disinfected or the amount of disinfectant added may not be sufficient to provide residual protection to the water to prevent microbial recontamination.

Millennium Development Goal No 7 is to reduce by half the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation by 2015. To reach the MDG for drinking water requires 1.1 billion people to gain access in the next decade: equivalent to 300,000 people every day and 84% are in rural areas. Even if there is an improved water supply it does not mean that the water is safe to drink. A randomized study by of 254 children, aged 1–2 years found that even water from improved sources was contaminated with E. Coli.

Simple techniques for disinfecting water at household level are shown to considerably reduce diarrhoea and aretwice as effective as interventions at source. The most cost–effective strategy evaluated was disinfection of unsafe water at the point of use. Chlorination, at the point–of–use, has been shown to reduce diarrhoea.

Medentech produces Aquatabs®, the world's leading water purification tablet. Aquatabsc is an effervescent sodium dichloroisocyanurate tablet. In February 2011 the US EPA approved Aquatabs® Water Purification Tablets for treatment of water against giardia cysts, bacteria and viruses. Aquatabs® meet all the criteria & sets the quality standards for HWTS products. It has proven safety and consistent quality. In addition to the testing for US EPA approval it has been tested in 15 field evaluations for health-impact and water quality. It was found to be acceptable by indigenous peoples in more than 10 studies. It is affordable by low-income earners. Aquatabs® is included in many Social marketing and commercial marketing programs. It is available in many countries. It has a proven shelf life of 5 years. It is light and portable which makes it an ideal product for rural areas where distribution over the last mile can be difficult.

Aquatabs® is distributed with two main distributions models to the target populations who are those at high risk of diarrhoeal diseases from unsafe water at the ‘Base of the economic Pyramid’ (BOP). The two models are a demand -driven model and a social and commercial marketing model that has been developed for other products such as condoms. This model includes health education and encourages behaviour change to less risky behaviour.

Medentech has an active R&D program developing new products for water treatment. Medentech has developed a taste improved tablet which is currently on sale on trial in some Asian countries. Medentech is supporting a major long term double blinded placebo health impact trial on the efficacy of household water treatment in India. Medentech has developed a flocculent tablet for use with turbid water in emergencies.
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Keywords: Chlorination; NaDCC; disinfection; water

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2011-01-01

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