Citrus International Trading PLC, a local medical material supplier and producer, announced that it has expanded the supply of water treatment pills known as Aquatabs to tackle the latest Acute Watery Diarrhea (AWD) outbreak, which has been expanding. They have obtained a letter of credit from financial intuitions. The company has been supplying Aquatabs water treatment pills for the past decade in Ethiopia. They expanded the supply, alleviating a shortage of the pills that has been occurring in Addis since the outbreak occurred in June. At one point the pills even temporarily disappeared from the market. The Ireland based pharmaceutical and medical equipment manufacturer, Medentech Limited, has produced Aquatabs for the past 30 years. The tablets are poplar worldwide.
According to the WHO the product has been used in global disaster areas.
Currently Citrus is supplying pills that have the capacity to purify 20 liters of water. Each pill currently costs 62 cents. At the press conference held on August 18 at Golden Tulip hotel, Menase Kifle, Managing Director of Citrus International Trading, said that his company has imported two million strips of Aquatabs to settle the market.
“The next two million strips will be imported in the coming two weeks,” he added.
The shortage of hard currency has caused his company to slowdown imports. Now however, the company has gotten support from the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia based on the support of health offices it is now expanding its supply.
According to Menase, the recommended price at pharmacy and supermarkets is 6.25 birr for a single strip that has ten pills.
AWD has become a challenge for the capital city. The government is advising the public to use purified water and not to eat raw meat and vegetable products until the outbreak is under control.
Ministry of Health and the Addis Ababa City Administration Health Bureau representatives who attended the press conference said that the outbreak has declined in some parts of the city but has spread to others.
The health office representatives are recommending that people boil water or treat the water they use.
Mulugeta Admasu, communication head of the Addis Ababa City Administration Health Bureau, said that each household should take the outbreak seriously and make sure they treat their water or use bottled water. He said that the outbreak is not yet under control.
The federal government has announced that the AWD problem has expanded in different parts of the country. According to the statement of Ministry of Health the outbreak has expanded to Amhara, Tigrai and Afar regions.
The Orthodox fasting season has helped slow the outbreak and when the rainy season ends it tends to also help. The AWD outbreak is expected to negatively affect the vegetable market.