204625 Safe Water Systems in Afghanistan: Building Local Manufacturing Capacity and Quality Assurance

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Shaun ONeil, MPA , Center for Private Sector Solutions, Futures Group, Washington, DC
Ibrahim Heidar, MD , Private Sector and Communications, Futures Group International, Washington, DC
A consistent supply of safe water solutions that meet international set standards is a signification challenge in Afghanistan. A huge majority of the population estimated at approximately 80% do not have access to safe drinking water or sanitation facilities which results in significant cases of water-borne disease leading to diarrheal episodes especially amongst children. Nearly one-fifth of children under the age of five (5) are estimated to have nearly six (6) diarrheal episodes per year with only six (6) months of the year representing the most at risk period. Diarrhea kills about 44 children out of 1,000, which represents about one-fifth of the under five (5) mortality in Afghanistan.

To support the efforts of the Government of Afghanistan, Futures Group International with support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has been implementing the Communications for Behavior Change: Expanding Access to Health Products through the Private Sector (COMPRI-A) Project since April 2006. COMPRI-A works with a local pharmaceutical manufacturer, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta, and international laboratories to develop the local capacity and required skills set to produce a safe water solution (chlorine-based) that meets international standards for shelf-life and chlorine concentration levels to ensure the effective production of reliable safe water solutions being sold throughout Afghanistan.

An initial problem identified was that the local manufacturer needed to acquire testing and quality assurance equipment along with training to ensure that the raw materials put into the production process and final product (chlorine solution) met international standards.

The Project worked with the CDC and US-based equipment manufacturers to ascertain the problem in the production cycle and identified key interventions that the manufacturer needed to take in order to correct the production process that was resulting in the inconsistent quality of safe water solution being produced. Through a grant awarded by the COMPRI-A Project and funded by USAID, in concert with the CDC, local US-based manufacturers and our local pharmaceutical supplier partner, the required types of water purification, chemical testing, and quality assurance equipment was procured and installed at the local manufacturer's facility. This directly resulted in the manufacturer producing safe water solutions consistently meeting international standards.

Learning Objectives:
Investment of $40,000 for the procurement of quality water testing equipment builds local Afghanistan manufacturer's ability to deliver effective safe water solution to the population.

Keywords: Water, Social Marketing

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a current manager on the COMPRIA Social Marketing Project in Afghanistan where this work has been conducted.
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.