Food Safety

Aquatabs FLO pilot in Bangladesh

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Working to get more people safe water:

Medentech partners with Stanford to pilot an innovative water treatment solution.

www.aquatabsflo.com

Did you know?

  • 663 million people in the world - one in ten - do not have clean water.[1]
  • Around 315,000 children under-five die every year from diarrhoeal diseases caused by dirty water and poor sanitation. That's almost 900 children per day, or one child every two minutes.[2]
  • Every minute a newborn baby dies from infection caused by a lack of safe water and an unclean environment.[3]
  • Nearly half of all people using dirty water live in sub-Saharan Africa, and one fifth live in Southern Asia.[4]
  • 42% of healthcare facilities in Africa do not have access to safe water.[5]
  • At current rates of progress, everyone in low- and middle-income countries won't have clean water until 2057 - 27 years behind schedule.[6]
  • (WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP) Report 2015) Unsafe and insufficient drinking water along with hygiene and inadequate sanitation, account for 7% of the total disease burden and 19% of child mortality worldwide.[7]
  • SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOAL 6.1: By 2030, achieve universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water for all.[8]
  • Improved sources are in general safer than unimproved sources of drinking water, but they are not universally consistently free of fecal contamination. In 38% of 191 studies at least a quarter of samples from improved sources exceeded WHO recommended levels of Facel Indicator Bacteria (FIB).[9]
  • An estimated 3% of the global population use surface waters and a further 8% use ''other unimproved sources'' such as tanker trucks, unprotected dug wells, and unprotected springs.[10]
  • If everyone everywhere had clean water, the number of diarrhoeal deaths would be cut by 34%.[11]

Why is "Safe" water so important?

As shown in the UNICEF-Report "Drinking Water and Sanitation" (2012), diarrhea diseases caused by dirty / unsafe water are the main cause of death for children. In the World today more than 7 times the number of children (under 5) will die from diarrheal diseases than AIDS.[12] Early estimates are showing that only the usage of clean water would be able to rescue the life of approx. 2.200.000 children. The availableness of clean water fundamentally obviates diseases. Therefore child mortality and simultaneously costs for medical care would be lowered.

Despite considerable progress in expanding access to "improved" water sources over the past several decades, it is estimated that roughly one billion people still receive water that does not meet international standards for safety. Two dominant models for water treatment are centralized and household treatment.  These are both effective in different contexts but each faces challenges in scaling up access to safe water in developing countries.

What we are doing about Safe Water?

To help address this issue MedenTech, a subsidiary of Anti-Germ, partnered with the Woods Institute at Stanford University in 2015 to explore an alternative paradigm for water treatment in low-income urban areas, termed point-of-collection (POC) disinfection.  The team of researchers is led by Jenna Davis at the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment.  Davis, in collaboration with MedenTech, other members of Lotus Water project, are testing one method of point of collection treatment, named the Aquatabs Flo.  This community-scale, fully automated chlorine dosing device for shared water points in low-income urban settings requires neither reliable electricity nor 24/7 supply to function consistently.

This study follows on an initial efficacy trial of the Aquatabs Flo in 2015 in which the water quality was tested in 40 compounds which had Aquatabsflo installed in their shared water points.  Of the 221 samples taken in Dec 2015, 76% had free chlorine residual at above 0.1 parts per million at the hand pump.

The Project's business model relies on monthly payments from landlords, who typically own shared water points in Dhaka, Bangladesh, one of the world's most densely populated cities. The team's research indicates that slum residents are willing to pay higher rents in exchange for higher-quality water. Linking the device's lease to service payments would hold landlords accountable to their tenants.  On average, a 1- to 2-percent rent increase would be sufficient to cover device maintenance, according to Amy Pickering, an engineering research professor with the Lotus Water team.

During the health impact study, the team has found that typical refill frequency of the Aquatabs Flo for a shared water point ranged from 2-10 weeks.  In addition, the chlorine dosing has remained relatively stable, with on average 90% of the samples measuring at 0.1 mg/L or above for free chlorine residual.

The preliminary results of the study were presented at the UNC Water & Health in October 2016 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.  The final results from this exciting health impact study are expected in mid 2017.

For more information check out our Aquatabs Flo Website!


[1] WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP) Report 2015

[2] washwatch.org/en/blog/why-has-number-children-dying-diarrhoeal-disease-due-poor-wash-s/

[3] WHO, 2015

[4] WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP) Report 2015

[5] www.who.int/water_sanitation_health/publications/wash-health-care-facilities/en/

[6] WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP) Report 2015 and WASHwatch

[7]  http://www.who.int/quantifying_ehimpacts/publications/saferwater/en/  Pruss-Ustun A, Bos R, Gore F, Bartram J (2008) Safer water, better health

[8] sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdg6

[9] Fecal Contamination of Drinking-Water in Low- and Middle-Income Countries: Robert Bain , Ryan Cronk, Jim Wright, Hong Yang, Tom Slaymaker, Jamie Bartram journals.plos.org/plosmedicine/article

[10] UNICEF/WHO Joint Monitoring Programme: definitions and methods www.wssinfo.org/definitions-methods/

[11] Prüss-Ustün A, Bartram J, Clasen T et al. Burden of disease from inadequate water, sanitation and hygiene in low- and middle-income settings: a retrospective analysis of data from 145 countries. Tropical Medicine & International Health. 2014;19(8):894-905. doi:10.1111/tmi.12329

[12] www.who.int/pmnch/media/press_materials/fs/fs_mdg4_childmortality/en/