P&G Funds Water Packets to Stem Cholera in Zimbabwe
As Zimbabwe continues to confront a cholera epidemic tied to failing water and sanitation infrastructure, a new World Vision project supported by the Procter & Gamble Children's Safe Drinking Water Program is under way, providing Zimbabweans with the tools and training necessary to protect themselves, their families, and their communities.
The large-scale, community-driven program, funded by a $200,000 grant from P&G, will enable World Vision staff and volunteers to distribute 2.5 million PURTM Purifier of Water packets benefiting 10,000 households and an estimated 250,000 people. Each packet, a powdered product that reduces parasites, bacteria, and other contaminants found in water, effectively transforms up to 10 liters of contaminated water into clean, purified water within minutes. Zimbabweans in affected areas will learn how to effectively use this product as well as receive cholera prevention, response, and preparedness training.
The relief work will be concentrated in the regions of Bulawayo, Mashonaland West, Mashonaland East, and Matabeleland South, all of which are suffering high rates of cholera infection and death. In addition to supporting its current work involving medical personnel responding to the cholera epidemic, World Vision will deploy two mobile units to distribute the PUR packets and provide information and training to program participants. A latter part of the project will involve the repair and maintenance of damaged sewage systems in the region to prevent the further spread of the disease through drinking water.
"With an average of one new cholera case in Zimbabwe per minute, a rapid response is critical and we are very grateful to P&G for this partnership," said Keith Kall, executive director of corporate development for World Vision. "Lives will be saved due to their generosity, and many, many Zimbabweans will be armed with new knowledge to protect themselves and their children in the midst of very high-risk circumstances."
"It's particularly important that during this time of financial crisis we continue to think about those most in need and do what we can to help," said Greg Allgood, PhD, director for the P&G Children's Safe Drinking Water Program, the signature program of P&G's Live, Learn and Thrive(TM) Initiative. "World Vision has a particularly effective plan to help save lives in Zimbabwe and will provide more than 50 days of clean drinking water to a child for every dollar donated."
The cholera epidemic in Zimbabwe, having already claimed more than 3,000 lives and with more than 54,000 reported cases is shifting rapidly to rural areas, World Vision reported in January. Rural areas had previously recorded low cases of the epidemic since the first reported case last August