USAID and P&G kick off Global Development Alliance to improve health in Burma

USAID/Burma Mission Director Chris Milligan (left) and USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah (right) in North Okkalapa Township
USAID/Burma Mission Director Chris Milligan (left) and USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah (right) in North Okkalapa Township, outside Burma's capital Rangoon, on Feb. 27, 2014 -- demonstrating the use of the Procter and Gamble water purifying sachet.
Kelly Ramundo, USAID

Administrator Rajiv Shah helps deliver first liter of clean drinking water under the partnership

For Immediate Release

Friday, February 28, 2014

Rangoon – Administrator Rajiv Shah yesterday helped deliver the first liter of clean drinking water under the Global Development Alliance (GDA) between the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and Procter & Gamble (P&G) to improve health in this country. This milestone first liter, which marks the launch of the partnership, was delivered at a community in North Okkalapa Township, Rangoon. Over the next two years, USAID and P&G intend to make joint investments of at least $2 million on health projects aimed at providing clean drinking water through provision of P&G Purifier of Water packets; promoting better hygiene behaviors; and building capacity to deliver improved health services to mothers and children. Population Services International (PSI) will implement these projects in-country.

Joining a community training session for mothers and children on how to use P&G Purifier of Water packets to clean dirty, turbid water, USAID Administrator Dr. Rajiv Shah said “Up to 12,000 children here die every year from diarrhea. By partnering to scale up proven solutions -- like the P&G Purifier of Water packets -- we are helping to end extreme poverty and investing in this country’s untapped potential."

P&G has been providing clean drinking water for nearly a decade through its not-for-profit Children’s Safe Drinking Water Program, sharing hundreds of millions of its award-winning P&G Purifier of Water packets to water insecure populations across the world. The powdered water purification product is a simple and effective way to make clean drinking water for the entire family, as the packets turn dirty, potentially deadly water into clean and drinkable water in only 30 minutes. Each sachet of P&G Purifier of Water contains 4 grams of powder that clean 10 liters of water, and has helped to reduce diarrheal disease incidence in the developing world by up to 90%. In November 2012, The Economist magazine recognized it as one of the world’s most amazing social innovations. To date, this simple but powerful innovation has saved an estimated 37,000 lives and prevented over 280 million days of diarrheal illnesses across 75 countries.

P&G Purifier of Water has been particularly effective in Burma, which is prone to natural disasters including floods, cyclones, droughts, and earthquakes. The program was first deployed to address a severe shortage of clean drinking water that resulted from Cyclone Nargis in 2008. Working with NGO partners, P&G responded to the crisis by providing over 30 million liters of clean drinking water to disaster victims across the country. Since 2011, P&G and its NGO partners have provided an additional 45 million of liters of clean drinking water to families affected by floods, droughts or chronic water scarcity across the country.

P&G Vice President for Global Government Relations & Public Policy, Carolyn Brehm said “P&G is committed to playing its part in the inclusive development of this country through a range of social and economic investments that creates jobs, boosts capability and provides superior quality consumer products to local people.  Through this partnership with USAID and PSI, we hope to improve the health of mothers and children and make meaningful gains in accelerating broad based development for people here.”

PSI Burma Senior Country Director Barry Whittle said “Diarrhea is the second major cause of death among children under five here and PSI, with generous support from USAID and P&G, will work to improve both household water quality and hand-washing practices in order to curb the spread of this disease. Through PSI’s expansive SUN Quality Health Network and numerous sales outlets, we will increase access to household water treatment products and educate families on hand-washing with soap to reduce the risk of diarrhea - improving the health of children."