According to the Afghanistan Demographic and Health Survey, six percent of households use appropriate water treatment practices. Water treatment products kill micro-organisms in water, making it safer to drink by reducing the prevalence of waterborne diseases including diarrhea. To increase the number of people treating their water properly, the Afghan Social Marketing Organization (ASMO) markets a chlorine water treatment solution, Abpakon. Water treatment products have a short shelf life and high packaging and distribution costs. As a result, ASMO experienced frequent stockouts of Abpakon and some of the stock expired before it could be sold.
In response, SHOPS Plus supported ASMO in forging a partnership with Medentech, the manufacturer of Aquatabs. The Aquatabs product is small and lightweight, making it easier to transport. It has a shelf life of five years, reducing the risk of stockouts and the possibility of expiration before the products are used. By introducing Aquatabs, ASMO will be able to improve the availability of water treatment in Afghanistan, increase access to water treatment solutions, and improve cost efficiency in distributing water treatment products.
Introduction of a more convenient product
SHOPS Plus supported ASMO in securing exclusive rights to distribute Aquatabs in the country. Through discussions, the Ministry of Public Health included Aquatabs on its essential drug list and licensed drug list based on evidence provided by ASMO and Medentech.
ASMO introduced the product with two different strengths (33 mg and 67 mg) nationally with the sales roll out beginning in 2018. The project is conducting behavior change communication campaigns to motivate more Afghan households to purify drinking water.