Syringe reusing is a serious problem in developing countries and it is one with long term costs as one who is infected through infected syringes and contracts Hepatitis B may never show the symptoms till 10 years.
It is even more intolerable when often we hear that doctor is only second to god - how much trust did the patients put in the doctors and nurses only to be infected.
It also again made me realise how fortunate I am to be a Singaporean and how I must avoided injections as much as possible when I am sick overseas.
Check out this TED video to witness syringe reusing in a Indian Hospital:
Can you wait so long to design?
What is amazing and admirable about Marc Kokas is not only that he designed a product that will save millions but also the process of how he got there:
He took 3 entire years to understand the problem and refused to design
a single thing in that period. The result?
He has only one design - the first and only one that worked.
As he puts it, many startup all sell similar ideas and solutions. The difference is that 99% does not understand the problem thoroughly enough.
He chose to understand and think through completely, hence making sure his syringes met the following criteria:
- Same price as the current syringes
- Similar design so that it can be manufactured on existing manufacturing equipment
- Similar usage method so that all the nurses need not be trained again.
Many comments on TED talk reflected the view that such an invention will not work because the auto disenable syringe is not cheaper than conventional syringes.
However, as Marc mentioned in the Potential Power podcast:
Syringe is actually a loss maker, to install a brand to sell other
more expensive products medical products by the syringe producers.
Hence there is actually not much room to cut and make syringes even cheaper.
He said price of syringe is not the reason why they are reused, cause they are cheap in the first place! However, maybe all this is relative in a developing country.
There were also comments that by not injecting completely, the K1 Auto Disenable syringe will not be auto disenabled and hence can be reused again! However, that should not be the case cause the medication inside will cost more than the syringe.
For all the disputes, let us just end with respect for a man who is patient and throughout and in so doing, made a real dent in the world!