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Swiss firm partners EnvironFocus to tackle water- borne diseases

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Some school children being taught how to access safe water from LifeStraw community

Despite making substantial progress in developing policies for water supply and sanitation service delivery, Nigeria has faced major challenges in translating these into action.

Every year, an estimated 124,000 children under the age of 5 die because of diarrhea, mainly due to unsafe water, poor sanitation and hygiene.

As noted by United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), about 70 million people, out of a population of 171 million, lacked access to safe drinking water in Nigeria.

To change this narrative, a Nigerian registered firm, EnvironFocus Limited has entered into a strategic partnership with a Swiss firm, Vestergarrd for the introduction of LifeStraw into Nigeria’s environment.

Speaking at the public unveiling of the initiative in Lagos, Water Business Director-Africa Vestergaard Limited, Steve Otieno, said the product is approved by  World Health Organisation and the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). He said the product is put forward with the mindset that drinking standards water is developed amongst Nigerians and to reduce the high rate of water borne diseases like typhoid and diarrhea.

He observed that globally, an estimated 663 million people lacked access to improved drinking water sources and where improved sources are available; the water supply is not necessarily safe.

“At least 1.9 billion people are reported to rely on either unimproved sources or improved sources that are faecally contaminated. It is in these settings that household water treatment (HWT) and safe storage can serve as an important interim measure to make drinking water safer as provided by LifeStraw”.

The product created by Vestergaard, a Swiss company, he said, has advantage of preventing waterborne diseases such as diarrhea, typhoid, cholera, worms, and cryptosporidiosis.

“They remove 99 percent of bacteria, 99 percent of protozoan cysts and 99 percent of viruses. They are affordable, durable, easy to install, use and maintain. There are different models that will provide individuals, schools, businesses, families, churches and communities with instant access to safe clean drinking water on the go and in a location. Water used can be from any source; river, lake, well, stream, tap etc”, he added.

Also, Otieno said, heath 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.

For the Managing Director of EnvironFocus Limited, the sole distributor of the product in Nigeria, Obie Agusiegbe, the product is in tandem with the vision of the environment sustainability consulting firm, which focuses on environmental protection.

Sustainability solution, she said, is needed in the class of LifeStraw, which is a clean technology that can reduce the amount of waste in the environment.

“The products, which come in various categories was designed to meet below the pyramid to ensure that all strata of the community get safe drinking water. LifeStraw is committed to redefining the safe drinking water space through technology innovation, product quality, design and can only be sold to the following customers: Government, States, NGOs/ PVOs, Community groups and Local Corporates (B2B)”, she said.


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