Rugby | ColaLife
What would happen if the simplest medicines were as readily available as a bottle of Coke? Simon Berry knows it would probably change the world. In his 12 years as a development worker in some of the world’s poorest countries, Simon Berry has found himself in a fair number of out-of-the-way places. On the road for weeks at a time while visiting local communities across Zambia, his life was far removed from the nine-to-five humdrum most of us take for granted. “It was really remote,” Berry recalls. “I’ve never worked in places as remote as those.” There was, however, one constant he knew he could rely on. “No matter where you pitched up, you could always get a Coca-Cola.” And that started him thinking.
Through his job, Berry saw first hand the human effects of poverty. One statistic shocked him above all others: that in the most impoverished communities, one in five children died before the age of five from preventable diseases like diarrhoea. The treatment – sachets containing little more than salt and sugar – were cheap and effective, but the shelves of health centres lay empty. Aid agencies and NGOs simply didn’t have the capacity to distribute the drugs. And so, by the dusty Zambian roadside, it dawned on him. Sachets of rehydration salts aren’t large or heavy – if only
Published on Jun 25, 2010