Plastic Package Delivers Lifesaving Medicine to Children

Aid Pod

Plastics. Plus creative packaging. Combined with a unique distribution system. Delivering medicine that saves children’s lives.

Surely such innovation deserves some recognition?

While diarrhea is an easily treated disease, 15 percent of deaths for children under five years old in sub-Sahara Africa is caused by the condition. Efforts to distribute inexpensive treatment kits in this region have been stymied, primarily by the lack of an effective distribution system. The kits make it to some central locations but not out to the far-flung villages where kids live. And die.

ColaLife, an independent non-profit UK-based agency that provides aid to the area, compares the unworkable distribution system to a fruit tree—aid workers can make it up the tree trunk but not out to the branches where the fruit is.

In the search for a ready way to deliver the medicine, ColaLife workers noticed that one well known product has a network that reaches deep into these to remote villages: Coca-Cola. And the iconic hourglass shape of the bottles left many spaces in the plastic carrying case … spaces that could carry medicine if it were packaged correctly.

Thus the genesis of the AidPod, an innovative new package and system to deliver life-saving medicine to children in remote villages … and winner of both the Diamond and the Special Award for “Food Security” at the 2013 DuPont Awards for Packaging Innovation.

To piggyback on Coca-Cola’s distribution system, ColaLife turned to the company pi global’s structural team to develop a self-contained plastic package for an anti-diarrheal kit that fits snugly into the spaces around the soft drink bottles. The medicine is enclosed within the AidPod in single dose pouches—parents and kids simply mix it with water inside the plastic AidPod container and drink it down.

The entire package is sealed with a tough plastic film that helps prevent contamination and protect against damage in shipping. The AidPod also contains a separate soap packet to encourage hand washing.

Senator Chris Coons, who chairs the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on African Affairs, noted, “It’s not just small packages that good things come in—it’s clever ones, too. The AidPod is proof that the combination of ingenuity, innovation and inspiration is powerful enough to overcome the world’s greatest humanitarian challenges.”

Surely that deserves an award.