New lifeline for homes, communities as Vestergaard rises against waterborne diseases

by | November 21, 2017 12:45 am



For homes and communities without access to safe and clean water sources, a new lifeline is here as Vestergaard, a public health tools manufacturer based in Switzerland, has introduced into Nigeria an innovative point-of-use water intervention product to eliminate common waterborne diseases.

The product, known as LifeStraw, ensures access to cleaner water with a capacity for 1000 litres of water serving about 50 people daily. It purifies water using a hollow fibre, an ultra-filtration membrane technology designed for use in homes, schools, farms, hospitals, and communities. LifeStraw helps to prevent waterborne diseases for families, especially in developing countries, and is effective in emergency situations.

Steve Otieno, Country Director, Vestergaard Africa Limited, explained that LifeStraw is an instant water purifier approved by the World Health Organisation (WHO). According to him, LifeStraw is currently in 64 countries across the world, providing continuous water filtration that is easy to use, manage, and maintain, and is self-sustaining.

“With LifeStraw, every water user can access cleaner water on the go. Water crisis cannot be solved by one source or solution, but through a collective effort by all the stakeholders. LifeStraw is self-sustaining because it purifies at point-of-use,” Otieno stated.

Obie Agusiegbe, MD, EnvironFocus, a Canada-based organization that aligns sustainability with business, also explained that LifeStraw is a solution that meets the vision of EnvironFocus as a social enterprise.

According to Obie, “LifeStraw solution meets the challenges of providing safe and environmentally friendly water to people on the go,” hence the need to partner with Vestergaard to make the product and service available across Nigeria.

According to a WHO report, an estimated 663 million people globally lack access to improved drinking water, and where improved sources are available, the water supply is not necessarily safe.

In line with this, household water treatment (HWT) and safe storage can serve as an important interim measure to make drinking water safe. However, health gains from HWT and safe storage can only be achieved when treatment products are effective in removing pathogens from drinking water, and are used correctly and consistently.

A variety of HWT products with performance ranging from little to considerable pathogen removal are available today. However, many countries especially in Africa have neither the resources nor the capacity to evaluate HWT performance according to WHO criteria.

Hence, leveraging WHO Independent Advisory Committee (IAC), LifeStraw designed a protective, long-lasting household water purifier with built-in safe storage, which instantly converts contaminated water into microbiologically safe and clean drinking water.

LifeStraw removes dirt and cloudiness, making water clean by removing about 99.9 percent of bacteria, viruses and protozoan parasites in water. LifeStraw does not require electrical power or batteries, and also does not repeat intervention with an easy to clean pre-filter and purification cartridge.

CHUKA UROKO