On December 15, SHOPS Plus in partnership with Medentech launched a new home water treatment (HWT) product onto the Haitian market during a press conference in Port-au-Prince. Puritabs, which is produced by Medentech, is a water purification tablet that helps combat waterborne diseases such as diarrhea, cholera, and typhoid, as well as water-washed diseases such as skin and eye infections.
SHOPS Plus supports Medentech and its distributor, ProPharma, with analysis of the market for HWT products, development of its marketing plan and materials, and development of its distribution strategy. The introduction of Puritabs is also part of a new SHOPS Plus initiative to facilitate the development of a self-sustaining market that does not depend on donor grants and free distributions.
Medentech is also the producer of Aquatabs; the world’s most recognized and largest selling brand of water purification tablets that have been distributed in Haiti for many years. As a result of its heavy association with free distributions in response to natural disasters, the HWT has struggled on the market because people are not willing to pay for it. With support from SHOPS Plus, Medentech opted to save Aquatabs for free distribution and instead launch Puritabs onto the market.
Through social and behavior change communication campaigns, SHOPS Plus aims to increase overall demand for HWTs. This work includes training and deploying health educators, developing mass media campaigns, and leveraging mhealth platforms. To ensure the continuity of impact, the project works with and supports local organizations like Medentech and ProPharma to implement its social marketing activities.
According to USAID, which funds this SHOPS Plus activity, diarrhea accounts for 12 percent of under-5 deaths, and only approximately 60 percent of the population has access to improved drinking water sources. The cholera outbreak has further exacerbated water, sanitation, and hygiene-related challenges caused by poor infrastructure.