200506 Scaling up household water treatment in low-income settings: Novel commercial approaches

Monday, November 9, 2009: 9:10 AM

Glenn Austin , Safe Water Project, PATH, Seattle, WA
PATH is pursuing a market-based solutions approach to accelerate widespread adoption of household water treatment and safe storage (HWTS) devices by low-income populations and to ensure sustained correct and consistent use of these devices over time. Our approach assumes that market-based solutions offer the potential for greater resource availability, faster response to consumer preferences (and thus more consumer choice), commercially sustainable models, and scalability.

The HWTS product sector is a dynamic system with many influencing factors, players, challenges, and opportunities. From a market perspective, the system can be framed as a sector-wide value chain. By doing so, we can identify gaps in the value chain that prevent access to affordable, effective devices by low-income populations. We then focus innovation on bridging these gaps through carefully chosen partners.

Our early learning in this project indicates that a pure market-based model will not lead to full distribution of HWTS benefits to all low-income populations. Market-based solutions should not be expected to provide access to the poorest of the poor. Our goal is to find the “sweet spot” that allows the private sector to address the needs of many low-income households, unlocks the benefits of market-based solutions (innovation, responsiveness, and efficiency), and reaches as far into the bottom-of-the-pyramid population as possible. Careful integration with public-sector activities—such as subsidies for the poorest of the poor—could efficiently address the needs of the poorest households.

Learning Objectives:
To describe how market-based approaches are being used in the PATH Safe Water Project. To discuss the use of market-based approaches in other settings.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Glenn Austin is group leader of product development teams and the director of the Safe Water Project at PATH. He provides strategic advice and leadership for planning and conducting product development, adaptation, and assessment. Before coming to PATH, he managed a wide variety of projects for M+IND, a Seattle-based product development consulting firm. Mr. Austin studied mechanical engineering at Case Western Reserve University and obtained a bachelor of science degree in industrial design from Western Washington University. He has additional experience and education in management, engineering, and computer-aided design.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.