After reading a newspaper article that predicted the spread of HIV through medical syringes, Marc Koska committed himself to addressing the threat of unsafe injections. He spent nearly 10 years in the field, investigating all aspects of the problem: clinical behavior, drug use, patient activity, syringe manufacturing/molding, distribution, disposal, procurement, public health, policy, and funding. The result was the K1 Auto Disable (AD) syringe, which physically prevents reuse by locking the plunger once it has been fully depressed.
To help raise awareness about the dangers of needle reuse and help stimulate demand for AD syringes, Koska founded a nonprofit called the SafePoint Trust. One of SafePoint’s first activities was to launch an aggressive public awareness campaign in India. As a result of the effort, 26 states in the country switched to using only AD syringes in their public health facilities.
Unfortunately, this change didn’t stick, with several states reverting to the use of regular syringes over time. This mini-case study describes how Koska modified his approach to driving adoption of AD syringes as SafePoint expanded its program to Tanzania. By devising a more comprehensive adoption strategy, he hoped to create more sustainable results in that country.
This story is part of the Global Health Innovation Insight Series developed at Stanford University to shed light on the challenges that global health innovators face as they seek to develop and implement new products and services that address needs in resource-constrained settings.
Acknowledgements: We would like to thank Marc Koska of the SafePoint Trust for his participation. This research was supported by the National Institutes of Health grant 1 RC4 TW008781-01.