The Government of Uganda in collaboration with Uganda Health Marketing Group (UHMG) and Vestergaard have launched a new drinking water technology dubbed “LifeStraw” that ensures access to safe drinking water for families, communities and schools. LifeStraw is an instant microbiological water purifier that treats water at the point of use. The chemical free technology, is primarily made to remove bacteria, viruses, protozoan parasites, dirt and small particles.
While launching the new drinking water technology, Minster of State for Health in charge of General Duties, Hon. Sarah Opendi noted that the innovation will save the Government shs.389billion used in treating preventable diseases, some of which are caused by poor sanitation and hygiene and contaminated water.
“This innovation will go miles in curbing the high child mortality due to Cholera and other water related diseases” Hon. Opendi noted. LifeStraw is an instant water purifier with an in-built safe storage container that provides safe drinking water for up to 100 individuals per day and ideal for communities with no access to safe drinking water.
Hon. Opendi pledged her support to roll out the new drinking water technology in schools especially those located in rural areas and refugees who at a high risk of contracting water borne diseases. “The Ministry of Health will avail the necessary support to such innovations that aim at improving the well-being of the Ugandan population” she said.
In Uganda, 14,000 children die annually due to diarrheal diseases like Cholera, Typhoid and Bilharzia. Only 28% of the rural population in Uganda use protected water sources while others use shallow wells. 15.4% of the urban dwellers have no access to safe drinking water and open defecation is still a practice by 3.3 million people in rural parts of country.
Steven Otieno, Country Director of Vestergaard noted that point- of- use treatment is an approach that can accelerate the health gains associated with the provision of safe drinking water to risk populations. “It empowers people to control the quality of their own drinking water” he said. Otieno said that treating water in the home at the point-of-use also reduces the risk of waterborne diseases arising from recontamination during collection, transport and use in the home, a well-known cause of water quality degradation.
Uganda is the 12th country to receive the technology after its roll out in 11 countries around the globe.