Can Coke Save Lives?


image credit: Tielmann, on Flickr

Did you ever ponder the irony that a Coke can be bought just about anywhere on earth, but we cannot succeed to save the dying children of our own species with inexpensive medications for diarrhea and other illnesses? Simon Berry did. He is campaigning to convince the Coca-Cola Company to put its mighty and extensive distribution network to use in delivering life-saving medications and information in developing countries, maybe by "dedicating one compartment in every 10 crates as 'the life saving' compartment." Coca-cola is listening.Of course, it is not Coke's job to deliver medications. And WaterAid points out that distributing rehydration salts for treating diarrhea is one of the least cost effective methods to save lives, well behind educating people about hygiene (est. cost of $3/day per disability-adjusted life year) and installing proper sanitation ($11/day/DALY).

Simon's answer to dissidents: Coca-cola reaches people. If people see the "life-saving" compartment, they will ask questions. Questions like: "How do I use these rehydrating salts?" and "How can I improve hygiene or sanitation to avoid disabling and life-threatening diseases?"

Simon Berry's campaign is picking up supporters through a Facebook Coca-Cola Campaign group, media awards and a BBC interview. And Simon is reaching Coca-Cola. According to Inhabitat, "Simon was invited by Salvatore Gabola, Coca-Cola's Global Head of Stakeholder Relations, to a meeting to discuss the idea further at Coca-Cola's European HQ in Brussels." That's having a Coke and a smile.

More on Coca-Cola:
Coca-Cola to Step Up Recycling, Improve Image
Coca Cola and WWF Conserving Water (?)
Coca Cola & UPS Canada Try to Clean Up Their Truck Fleets
More on Simon Berry's Coca-Cola Campaign:
Inhabitat
Facebook Coca-Cola Campaign group
Simon Berry's Blog
media awards
BBC interview of Simon Berry
Coca-Cola Manual distribution photo series by Tielmann

Thanks to tipster Kate A. for bringing this to our attention

Tags: Activism | Developing Nations | Diseases | Drinks

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