Thursday, 9 December 2010

Progress in Pakistan

SafePoint is in the process of launching the "Safe Injections for Pakistan" campaign supported by the Prime Minister of Pakistan in conjunction with their Hepatitis Prevention and Control Program. Read these incredible article's in The Express Tribune & The International News to find out more and Click here to see the LifeSaver film that SafePoint have donated to Pakistan, to help launch this campaign.

A staggering 9/10 of all injections given in Pakistan are unnecessary and 7/10 of all injections given are unsafe. Click here to join our causes page on Facebook and give your support.

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Marc's TEDMED Talk inspires Blog in Wall Street Journal

Marc had the pleasure of speaking at TEDMED in San Diego recently. To hear more about his talk and the global problem of syringe re-use, read the blog written by Katherine Hobson, in The Wall Street Journal.

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

SafePoint Tanzania Awareness Campaign Gets Underway

The SafePoint supporters reach Uhuru Peak, Tanzania

All-mother group successfully conquers Mount Kilimanjaro to raise awareness of the dangers of syringe re-use in Tanzania

East Sussex, United Kingdom - The four intrepid supporters of the SafePoint Trust – Anna Koska, Nicoletta Iacobacci, Clare Beale and Catherine English – have recently triumphed in their mission to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania. And not only have they completed this gruelling challenge in an impressive time, they are also celebrating being the first all-mother group to climb the feared Western Beach route. Congratulations ladies!

But now the hard work really begins. The SafePoint team has begun rolling out a hard-hitting campaign across Tanzania to raise awareness of the dangers of syringe re-use. Using one syringe to treat many patients is one of the single biggest causes of death in the developing world, and causes millions of infections each year in Africa and the rest of the developing world.

On their descent, the ladies travelled to Dar es Salaam where they called a press conference, attended by 25 major Tanzanian TV and radio channels. They informed their captivated audience why they took on the challenge to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, and their decision to raise money to donate single use (AD) syringes to Tanzania. Their climb has raised funds to contribute to their supplies in compliance with the ECSA resolution*.

Famous celebrity and comedian, Masanja, assisted the ladies in the press conference by demonstrating the three-point SafePoint message, taken from the WHO injection safety guidelines as per the diagram below.

New Packet, Used Once, Safely Disposed

Masanja validated the importance of safe injections and said, “I decided to help SafePoint make a public awareness film as I am a proud Tanzanian, and know that in the village where I come from, many people are unaware of unsafe injection practices.

“I hope that this film encourages healthcare workers to use a new syringe each time they give an injection, and that it informs our parents and children on the risks they take if they don’t demand one. To all fans of the Orijino Komedi Show, make sure you never have an unsafe injection again and spread the message for me.”

Yet, despite clear evidence pointing to significant numbers of deaths caused by a lack of injection safety procedures in many hospitals and medical centres in Tanzania, talks to date with Health Ministers in the country have remained unsuccessful. Marc Koska OBE, founder of the SafePoint Trust, originally met with the Hon Prof David Mwakyusa back in March 2010. At this meeting, the Hon Minister gladly accepted the donation of the film from SafePoint, and agreed to create a campaign to air it. But since this meeting, Marc has been met with closed doors and unable to progress with discussions further. For the SafePoint team, it is extremely frustrating, as they are only too aware from their experiences in other countries that public awareness is paramount to the changeover to single-use syringes.

Elections have taken precedence within the Tanzanian Health Authority, with little or no reference given to the unacceptable ‘unsafe injection’ culture. Also this week, Mr Deo Mtasiwa, Chief Medical Officer of Tanzania, stated his belief that no diseases have been spread through injection re-use.

While SafePoint appreciates the positive actions that have taken place in Tanzania to address the problem, such as the training of thousands of nurses, his claim is one that SafePoint rejects. Their view is backed by the announcement at the Annual meeting of The Safe Injection Global Network (SIGN) that a staggering 14% of all HIV infections are a direct result of unsafe injections.

Injection safety needs to move up the agenda, fast. Medical staff urgently need the resources to save lives; not to take them. Cost isn’t the issue - the cost of an AD syringe is 100 Shillings in Tanzania; the cost of a popular soft drink is 500 Shillings. “Mara moja katika maisha, mara nguni ni kifo.” A syringe used once is life. Used twice is death.

For more information, please contact:

Ginny Simpson
SafePoint Trust UK
The Granary
East Sussex
TN22 3HW

+44 (0)1825 713722

*Note: The ECSA (East Central Southern African Regions) resolution, passed and proposed by SafePoint in 2007, was signed by all 10 ECSA regions. Countries were to scale up their injection safety programmes by November 2009. SafePoint has already made and donated a public information film, with the support of SafePoint Ambassador, Masanja.

Background Notes to Editors:

Safepoint is a charity set up with a purpose to educate the next generation in safe healthcare.

This is done by delivering hard-hitting public awareness campaigns. We've done this to huge effect in India in 2008, resulting (April 2009) in the Health Minister mandating the use of Auto Disable (AD) syringes throughout all government-run hospitals. To date, Marc Koska, Founder of SafePoint, has been credited with saving well over 9 million lives.

Why Tanzania?

Tanzania is at the forefront of safe healthcare in Africa and will soon be the second country to convert over to Auto Disable (AD) syringes in the ECSA Region. With their policy already in place, trained healthcare workers and a public information film donated by SafePoint featuring Tanzanian celebrity and SafePoint supporter Masanja, they are ready to reduce the country's medical costs and ease the HIV/Hepatitis disease burden.

We climbed Mount Kilimanjaro to kick off Phase One of this new campaign – the raising of public awareness of the dangers of syringe re-use in Tanzania through all forms of media. We'll be visiting schools, orphanages and hospitals to talk with children, teachers and healthcare workers alike, getting the simple message of ‘one injection - one syringe’ across and donating syringes to kick start their participation in the campaign.

Facts and figures on unsafe healthcare

• Each and every year, due to unsafe injections, there are:
  • 230,000 HIV Infections
  • 1,000,000 Hepatitis C Infections
  • 21,000,000 Hepatitis B Infections
  • Resulting in 1,300,000 deaths each year
(Source: WHO World Health Organisation)

• Some 17 billion medical injections are given each year, and 7 billion of these are unsafe
(Source: Hutin 2003)

• Malaria kills 1,000,000 - so this silent epidemic – unsafe injections - kills even more people each year
(Source: WHO World Health Organisation)

• In Africa, 20 million medical injections, contaminated with blood from a patient with HIV, are administered every year
(Source: Reid 2009)

• At least 50% of all injections given, world wide, are unsafe
(Source: WHO World Health Organisation)

• A syringe is used on average 4 times in the developing world

• Every 24 seconds, a child dies as a result of an unsafe injection

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

A big Thank You to the Kiliwarriors from SafePoint and our "Kili Moms"

SafePoint and our amazing mum's (also known as "The SafePoint Chizi (crazy) ladies") would like to extend a massive thank-you to the Kiliwarriors.

Our brave mums were cared for every step of the way and couldn't recommend Kiliwarriors highly enough (pardon the pun!).

Anna Koska, Clare Beale, Nicoletta Iacobacci and Catherine Villeneuve summited Kilimajaro a day ahead of schedule and enjoyed the whole experience from beginning to end.

To view their blog as they climbed, or to follow others who are embarking on this amazing experience with Kiliwarriors visit: Kiliwarriors Facebook

Marc joins an impressive line-up at Jeremy Gilley's up and coming Speaker's Event

Marc will be talking at the "Unleash Your Power of Influence" speaker's event hosted by Peace One Day & Triumphant Events.

“The next event is during the day on Friday 19 November in central London. It really is a win-win situation,” said Jeremy, “anyone who comes will get the chance to learn from some true visionaries; there are speeches, interviews, Q&A sessions and informal chats – it’s a fantastic opportunity for anyone who’s interested in their own personal growth – in business and in life. At the same time people can know that all the profits generated on the day go back to POD to help keep the organisation going”.

The 19 November event is entitled “Unleash Your Power of Influence”. The line up is impressive; speakers include Marc Koska OBE (Star Syringe), Sam Roddick (founder of Coco de Mer), Simon Woodroffe OBE (YO! Sushi), Daniel Priestley (Triumphant Events / Author), Steve Bolton (Platinum Property Partners), and of course Jeremy.

The speaker’s events also provide people with an opportunity to find out more detail about Peace One Day, our objectives and strategy.

“Many people who attend our speaker’s events become Peace One Day Patrons,” Jeremy told me, “these are an extraordinary group of like-minded individuals who are able to get behind Peace One Day with financial and strategic support. Many of the speakers themselves are Patrons. I think what we’re seeing, through the speaker’s events and the POD Patrons Programme, is a growing community of people who want to see Peace One Day succeed in making Peace Day known and observed throughout the world. I’m incredibly grateful. For anyone interested, please come to the speaker’s event on 19 November and find out what it’s all about!”

For tickets to the next Peace One Day speaker’s event on Friday19November,visit:

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Marc makes the top 10 Inspiring Summit Stories at The Daily Beast

Marc talking at The Innovators Summit

8. Marc Koska’s P.R. Campaign

One of the most inspiring things to come out of The Daily Beast Innovators Summit was the persistent argument from entrepreneurs that helping the world can be more than an act of grace—it’s also great business. Koska, for example, is the inventor of the K1 syringe, a non-reusable and auto-disposable syringe that took more than 17 years to develop but has since been credited with helping to save 9 million lives. In the developing world, Koska explains, the average syringe is reused four times, frequently in hospitals. One place where this problem was endemic was India, where 62 percent of injections in hospitals were carried out using dirty needles. Unfortunately, Koska just couldn’t get the minister of health to acknowledge the problem. “I asked for a meeting and he said no,” Koska recalls. “I asked him for another meeting and he said no…We hit a brick wall.” Rather than accept defeat, Koska started a PR campaign to shame the minister into reacting. “We made a film that dramatically showed the problem, and we were able to show this on television five and a half thousand times,” he says. “We had radio announcements from a very famous celebrity in India, we had 14 press conferences, 240 newspaper articles, and we were able to do that in a five-day period. Net result? “Seven hundred million people saw the message, and the minister saw me straightaway.” Soon after, the reluctant bureaucrat mandated the use of non-reusable needles (there are about 10 brands, aside from Koska’s); the law has now gone into effect in 11 Indian cities with an aggregate population of 250 million people.

To watch Marc at The Daily Beast click here:

Taken from "10 Inspiring Summit Stories" by Jacob Bernstein at The Daily Beast

Friday, 5 November 2010

The Climb:Tanzania - Day 9

Catherine English, Nicoletta Iacobacci, Anna Koska and Clare Beale on Uhuru Peak, the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro, 19,341 ft above sea level - 3 November 2010

The Kili Mums celebrating their achievement with new-found friends

We did it! xxx

Text from Clare: Nov. 5
We are down. We have our certificates and these guys are shouting "one injection, one syringe!" They had no idea of the danger. Most of them have children and they are ready to make changes. We are all crying xx

Kiliwarrior Expeditions Mountain Report: Nov. 5
The ladies had a 5.5 mile descent to Mweka Gate today where they celebrated receiving their summit certificates! They are now back at their hotel in Arusha. Congratulations again on their successful charity climb for SafePoint!

Marc Koska: Nov.5
Well done to Anna, Nicoletta, Catherine and Clare! Now get back to work! Marc xxxx

Nick English: Nov. 5
Well done Miss V, Anna, Nicoletta and Clare. Very impressed back here! No pressure for next challenge?!!

Thursday, 4 November 2010

The Climb:Tanzania - Day 8

The Kili Mums have done it!

Kiliwarrior Expeditions Mountain Report: Nov. 4
Congrats to Anna, Nicoletta, Clare and Catherine! They all reached the summit yesterday afternoon! Today they made the long steep descent to Mweka Camp (10,145 ft) where they spend their last night on the mountain. They are happy and celebrating! They are now calling themselves the Safepoint Chizi (crazy) ladies! I am sure there will be lots of celebrating at camp tonight! It's a grand achievement for them!

Nik Miti: Nov. 4
im proud of you mom! you reached yet another goal you set yourself!

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Wednesday, 3 November 2010

The Climb:Tanzania - Day 7

Text from Clare: Nov. 3
On way up to crater at 18,500. V steep rock climbing.

Kiliwarrior Expeditions Mountain Report: Nov. 3
The Kili Moms conquered the Breach and they reached Crater Camp (18500 ft) under partly sunny skies! They are now experiencing the stunning, awesome glaciers of Kilimanjaro! They are planning to hike to the summit this afternoon!

Marc Koska: Nov. 3
Well Done Mums! We are all cheering you on back at climbing HQ. Love to all of you. Mx

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Tuesday, 2 November 2010

The Climb:Tanzania - Day 6

The first photo we've received from the Kili Mums: can you work out who's who?

Kiliwarrior Expeditions Mountain Report: Nov. 2
Anna, Nicoletta, Clare and Catherine had a short 1.5 mile hike to Arrow Glacier Camp (15,978ft.) today. Everyone is doing well! The weather is still cloudy with some snow falling. Best wishes to the "Kili Moms" on the breach tomorrow! They will be up very early tomorrow morning long before th...e sun comes up to start their trek around 5am.

Text from Clare: Nov. 2
Signal really bad. Going for summit a dat early. Tough going for me today. Huge day tomorrow climbing 1km in a day.

Christina Warren: Nov. 2
Yoo hoo! I know you won't be picking this up for a while but just to let you know I am thinking of you as you are climbing! Be safe. Tina xx

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Monday, 1 November 2010

The Climb:Tanzania - Day 5

Kilimanjaro Lemosho Western Breach Route Map from eben schoeman on Vimeo.

Our Kili Mums are taking the Lemosho/Shira/Western Breach route. It lasts 9 days and is the best way to experience the thrill of climbing Kilimanjaro. It is one of the least crowded routes, it is one of the most fascinating and it is long enough to provide proper acclimatization. It is essentially the same route as the IMAX team used during the filming of "Kilimanjaro: To the Roof of Africa". The Western Breach route is more risky due to the potential for rock falls, which is why climbers are asked to wear helmets.

Kiliwarrior Expeditions Mountain Report: Nov. 1
Second day at Sheffield Camp. Instead of resting today the group opted to go on an acclimatization hike. Lava Tower was a bit too snowy and icy to climb today. The weather is cloudy and foggy with some snow expected.

Gary Mott: Nov.1
Bite em back the little buggers, they won't like that. Glad you're all well and in high spirits, sounds like you're all enjoying the experience, keep it up. Will keep following your adventure and will write again soon X

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Sunday, 31 October 2010

The Climb:Tanzania - Day 4

Safari Ants

From the Kili Mums: Oct. 31
Day 4 now and here is a quick resume of our experiences to date. Bitten by safari ants. Drinking 4 litres per day with 4-8 hour hikes with only bushes to scurry behind. A wonderful crew who welcome us to camp in song and we eat like a sty of pigs. Freezing rain, racing hearts, spacey heads. Far too much laughter, not enough sleep. Now at Lava Camp 4.6 km. We are safe, freezing and very happy. Love to you all. xx

Kiliwarrior Expeditions Mountain Report: Oct. 31
Today was a short 2.5 mile hike to Sheffield Camp (14,940 ft.) where they will spend 2 days. It's cloudy and rainy. Everyone is doing well! Tomorrow is a rest/acclimatization day.

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Saturday, 30 October 2010

The Climb:Tanzania - Day 3

Nik Miti (Nicoletta's son): Oct. 30
Go team!! Go mom!! nik

Gary Mott: Oct. 30
Please let Clare and the others know that Gary, Chris and the kids are very proud of them and to keep the sterling work up and big love from us all

Kiliwarrior Expeditions Mountain Report: Oct. 30
Today was a long hike, almost 7 miles to Moir Hut Camp (13,700 ft). We did not hear from the team today yet as cell coverage from this camp is very tough!

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Friday, 29 October 2010

The Climb:Tanzania - Day 2

Carol Schoeman, Kiliwarrior Expeditions: Oct. 29
I just received a text from one of the mountain guides as follows:

"Anna's phone is broken. No signal for Clare until Sunday. Please let Clare and Anna's husband know this!"

It sounds like Clare's phone is working but will not get a strong cell signal until Sunday when they are at Sheffield Camp. Texting from Moir Hut camp tomorrow (Sat) is always really tough because cell service is very spotty to nothing at that camp typically. Coverage is much better at Sheffield Camp where they will be on Sunday for 2 days/2 nights to acclimatize!

Kiliwarrior Expeditions Mountain Report: Oct. 29
Update - the trekkers are doing very well and happy! They are almost to Shira Camp (11,520 ft). and had some sunshine today! Today's trek was almost 5 miles.

Kiliwarrior Expeditions Mountain Report: Oct. 29
Everyone on the mountain is doing great and leaving Forest Camp this morning for the long trek to Shira Camp! The weather is cloudy with a little rain!

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The Climb:Tanzania - Day 1


Kiliwarrior Expeditions Mountain Report: Oct. 28
We did not receive an update today, but this is not uncommon as the group is deep in the forest where cell coverage is tough! After a short 2.5 mile hike today, their first night is at Forest Camp (9222 ft).

A text from Anna: Oct. 28
We've just filled our stomachs ready for a flat out day. 3 and a half hours of potholed typical African roads followed by 3 and a half hours trekking thru mosquito laced rainforest to a forest camp at 2,800 mtrs. Where we will settle for the night. Bye for now x

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The Climb:Tanzania has begun

After months of training and fundraising, our 4 very brave mums Anna Koska, Nicoletta Iacobacci, Clare Beale and Catherine English have set off on their journey to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania in aid of SafePoint Trust!

Our 4 mums are, in fact, the first all-mothers women group to ascent Mount Kilimanjaro along the particular route they are taking.

The purpose of The Climb:Tanzania is to raise enough funds in order to donate a substantial number of auto disable syringes to Tanzania. Auto disable syringes cannot be reused, so their implementation within Tanzania's healthcare system will drastically reduce the number of deaths from HIV and other blood-borne diseases that currently result from reused syringes.

As well as climbing up the mountain, they will be visiting schools, orphanages and hospitals in Tanzania to educate children, nurses and teachers in safe and sterile injection practice.

Here is a summary of comments made during the preparation stage of The Climb:

Anna Koska - 27 Oct 2010:
Kit check
Body check
Head check
Then we are off.
Please sponsor us if you haven't already. Even the smallest amount will make the hugest difference! And will give us a boost when the going gets tougher at 5000 m. We are very honored to be raising these funds for safepoint to buy these syringes. It will make the difference for the Tanzania! Xxx

Marc Koska - 27 Oct 2010:
Anna, Nicoletta, Clare and Catherine - Good luck on behalf of all at SafePoint Trust UK and all your supporters, and well done for raising the money that you have raised so far, that will be put towards the Auto Disable syringes that will be donated to Tanzania.

Kiliwarrior Expeditions - 27 Oct 2010:
Kiliwarrior Expeditions Today Anna, Nicoletta, Clare and Catherine had their gear inspection and climb briefing. Tomorrow...Kilimanjaro! The guides will be Faraja and Gideon who is taking Hosea's place. Hosea is getting married in a few weeks!

Anna Koska - 26 Oct 2010:
Just to keep you posted. We are in Arusha preparing for our ascent. We've found out that we are the first all mothers womens group to attempt the western breach. Usually they take the women up the shorter less physically demanding route. So that's pretty cool. All for now xxx

Kiliwarrior Expeditions - 26 Oct 2010:
The next trek with Anna, Nicoletta, Clare and Catherine is a charity climb for SafePoint, a UK based charity, established in 2006 by Marc Koska OBE (Anna, Marc's wife is climbing). The purpose of their trek is to raise awareness and funds to donate much needed AD (Auto Disable) syringes to Tanzania. Please read more on... this important, life saving mission here:

J-A M-R - 24 Oct 2010:
Good Luck to u and all will be thinking of you. Will enjoy the updates. Look forward to hearing all about the trip. So proud of You. Xxxx

Anna Koska - 24 Oct 2010:
Training has at last come to an end.. and I think I'm ready for Kili!

Anna Koska - 23 Oct 2010:
Our good friends at Cocoa Loco have sent us a REAL mountain of chocolate to get us through those highs and lows and regulate our blood sugar (you know how girls are!) during our ascent up that 5892 metre hill. What priceless comfort! Lots of thanks to Rory and Sarah! XXX

Anna Koska - 20 Oct 2010:
Some facts about me: I'm very excited.
I'm extremely fortunate to have a wonderful bevvy of strong happy souls to climb with. I'm honoured to be doing it for Safepoint. I strongly suspect that I will want to climb a bigger one next.

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Kiliwarrior Expeditions Facebook page:

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Mara moja katika maisha, mara nguni ni kifo

"Once is life, twice is death" in Swahili

FACT: In Africa, 20 million medical injections contaminated with blood from a patient with HIV are administered every year. (Source: Reid 2009) This is a problem so severe that the WHO (World Health Organisation) reports that 50% of all injections given globally are unsafe.

Four committed mums will climb Mount Kilimanjaro for the SafePoint Trust starting their climb on Thursday 28th October for nine days they will experience an example of virtually every ecosystem on earth. On the surface, not an unusual challenge to raise money for a charity; indeed they will blend into 25,000 people who set foot in Tanzania, every year, to climb Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest peak. But the difference about this climb is the girls have one purpose - to give something back to the Tanzanian community.

They celebrate being the first all-mother group to climb the gruelling Western Beach route in support of the SafePoint Trust, a UK-based charity that uses information to solve basic healthcare problems – with a particular focus on unsafe injections. SafePoint runs hard-hitting public awareness campaigns, targeting both healthcare workers and the general public, increasing their knowledge of how to give and receive safe injections. SafePoint also actively lobbies for the change in legislation to using AD (Auto Disable) syringes only (International Standards Organization (ISO) standard AD syringes that can physically only be used once).

Money raised from this climb will benefit Tanzania directly; a substantial donation of AD syringes, compliant with the Tanzania Food and Drugs Authority (TFDA), will be given to the Ministry to distribute and stock hospitals with a life saving product. Allowing the 33,000 healthcare workers that have already been trained to use AD syringes (under the John Snow Inc President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (JSI PEPFAR) project) to do their jobs properly, to save lives, not take them:

"Mara moja katika maisha, mara nguni ni kifo."

Used once is life, used twice is death.

The team of mums climbing have collectively ten children between them and hope that news of their climb and the SafePoint message will spread to all mothers in Tanzania to ensure that they demand for all their children and family members, the following:
  1. A syringe, is always taken from a new sterile packet
  2. Ensure it is used once only on the patient
  3. Then make sure it is safely disposed of in a sharps bin

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Live Chat with Marc Koska

Reboot America chat with Marc Koska, Founder of The SafePoint Trust

held on Tuesday 19th October 2010 and hosted by Joshua Robinson:

Hello everyone and welcome to this afternoon's live chat with Marc Koska. For more than 20 years, he's been working on the problem of unsafe injections throughout the developing world. And today, he's here to answer our questions.

Joshua Robinson:
Welcome Marc, thanks for joining us.
Tuesday October 19, 2010 1:32 Joshua Robinson

marc koska:
very welcome
Tuesday October 19, 2010 1:32 marc koska

Joshua Robinson:
In 1997, you patented what is known as an auto-disable syringe, which insures that no needle can be used twice. Can you explain why it is so vital?
Tuesday October 19, 2010 1:33 Joshua Robinson

marc koska:
sadly in the developing world syringes are reused. the problem needed a number of solutions but one of them was an economic syringe designed so that it could only be used once. that would stop the transmission resulting from the reuse of many fatal viruses.
Tuesday October 19, 2010 1:35 marc koska

Joshua Robinson:
When we last spoke (for this piece on the Daily Beast), you told me about some truly shocking medical practices in the developing world. Could you describe a few of those here?
Tuesday October 19, 2010 1:36 Joshua Robinson

marc koska:
the syringe I designed can be made on the same machinery, for the same cost and used in the same way as a normal, plastic syringe.
Tuesday October 19, 2010 1:36 marc koska

marc koska:
Tuesday October 19, 2010 1:37 marc koska

marc koska:
in India 62% of all injections given are unsafe, resulting in something like 300,000 deaths a year.
in Pakistan there are not enough syringes in the country for each person yet on average each person receives 14!
Tuesday October 19, 2010 1:38 marc koska

marc koska:
bkr's question:
I read a newspaper article in 1984 which predicted syringes as a possible problem and that started me off!
Tuesday October 19, 2010 1:40 marc koska

[Comment From bkrbkr: ]
Was there singular, memorable instance (or person) that inspired you to set down the path of creating the auto-disable syringe?
Tuesday October 19, 2010 1:40 bkr

[Comment From BenBen: ]
I wonder if you could compare your own success with getting the one-use syringe to catch on in Africa with the less successful campaigns to encourage condom use there. Both measures are important to fighting HIV. Why has the latter lagged?
Tuesday October 19, 2010 1:41 Ben

marc koska:
ben's question:
Not an expert but think that condoms are not administered at point of use if you get my point by health professionals. doctors and healthcare workers should know better.. First Do No Harm!
Tuesday October 19, 2010 1:41 marc koska

[Comment From Alan TrainAlan Train: ]
Can you talk for a moment about the types of corruption you encountered in the Third World. Aid workers complain all the time about this sort of thing. Where was the "bakshish" resistance and how do you get around it?
Tuesday October 19, 2010 1:42 Alan Train

marc koska:
Alan Train: Always refused, and never got involved. Probably slowed us down, but I sleep OK!
Tuesday October 19, 2010 1:42 marc koska

Joshua Robinson:
But more generally, it hasn't always been easy dealing with local health officials has it?
Tuesday October 19, 2010 1:43 Joshua Robinson

The Daily Beast:
Check out SafePoint Trust's website to learn more.
Tuesday October 19, 2010 1:45 The Daily Beast

marc koska:
OK I guess, but they are mostly in very slow systems. we are only trying to help so it is very frustrating to see a solution not applied as fast as it might. that lead me to find other solutions to push through such as media pressure on politicians.

Sonny B: Yes. I was not the first guy to think of this. But all designs before me were immunisation based which is a small (5%) market. Mine was the first one for all injection types.
Tuesday October 19, 2010 1:45 marc koska

[Comment From SonnyBSonnyB: ]
Have other syringe manufacturers followed your lead?
Tuesday October 19, 2010 1:46 SonnyB

[Comment From JLJL: ]
What are the next innovations you are working on ?
Tuesday October 19, 2010 1:47 JL

marc koska:
JL: Better needles for the developed world, less plastic, and innovative ways of functioning during the injection.
Tuesday October 19, 2010 1:47 marc koska

[Comment From Guest Guest : ]
What I want to know if how prevelant it was and what sorts of pressures were put on you by those looking to corrupt the system
Tuesday October 19, 2010 1:48 Guest

marc koska:
Guest: It is out there! Cash is King!
Tuesday October 19, 2010 1:49 marc koska

[Comment From cb cb : ]
Do they use your syringes in first-world hospitals?
Tuesday October 19, 2010 1:49 cb

[Comment From kk kk : ]
Do you consider this your life work? What did you do before you created SafePoint?
Tuesday October 19, 2010 1:50 kk

marc koska:
KK: Yes, at least until 50% all of all injections in the developing world are safe.
Tuesday October 19, 2010 1:50 marc koska

The Daily Beast:
Hey guys, keep those questions coming and we'll make sure Mr. Koska sees them!
Tuesday October 19, 2010 1:51 The Daily Beast

marc koska:
cb: No. Firstly we only target developing world and on the whole the west is pretty good.
Tuesday October 19, 2010 1:51 marc koska

[Comment From DR. DDR. D: ]
What is the cost to use your syringes as compared to the old method of reusing? Correct me if I'm wrong but It seems like single-use syringes would cost more overall.
Tuesday October 19, 2010 1:51 DR. D

The Daily Beast:
On SafePoint's website check out videos of Mr. Koska and his tireless work to educate and save lives.
Tuesday October 19, 2010 1:55 The Daily Beast

marc koska:
Well reusing a syringe 20 times makes each injection a fraction of a penny in cost. The drug however is many times the cost of one syringe. Auto-Disable syringes cost approx 5¢ each. Normal syringes approx 4¢.
The point is that anywhere in the world would we condone the transmission of HIV or Hepatitis for 5¢. Just financially it costs any country thousands of $ per case, without even touching on the human side.
Tuesday October 19, 2010 1:55 marc koska

[Comment From CC: ]
Do you have a medical background?
Tuesday October 19, 2010 1:55 C

marc koska:
C; product design
Tuesday October 19, 2010 1:56 marc koska

[Comment From cbcb: ]
But I feel like I have seen nurses in modern hospitals using single-use syringes. Has this now become an industry?
Tuesday October 19, 2010 1:56 cb

marc koska:
cb: All syringes are disposable. The new design are called Auto-Disable, and can only be used once.
Tuesday October 19, 2010 1:57 marc koska

[Comment From KLMKLM: ]
How do you fund this project? Do you have independent fundraisers or do you align yourself with a specific charity?
Tuesday October 19, 2010 1:57 KLM

marc koska:
KLM: I fund it through private support.
Tuesday October 19, 2010 1:58 marc koska

Were you aware that this was such a global problem?
( 33% )
( 33% )
I am now
( 33% )

Tuesday October 19, 2010 1:58

marc koska:
pls do check out and for more information
Tuesday October 19, 2010 1:58 marc koska

[Comment From Yankee FanYankee Fan: ]
Are needles the end of the road or is the theory the same with all sterilized medical equipment. Ie, what other possibilities are there?
Tuesday October 19, 2010 1:59 Yankee Fan

marc koska:
Great ?
There are many wonderful concepts and products out there and I want them to succeed.
But for the developing world I fear the technology will not reach economic levels for mass use. Multi tiered world we live in!
Tuesday October 19, 2010 2:01 marc koska

[Comment From MikeDoverMikeDover: ]
Whose responsibility is it to use these syringes? The doctor or the patient?
Tuesday October 19, 2010 2:02 MikeDover

marc koska:
doctor in theory but in practice it is both plus the Government through supplies and legislation
Tuesday October 19, 2010 2:02 marc koska

Joshua Robinson:
Can you elaborate on the importance of educating patients to ask for new syringes?
Tuesday October 19, 2010 2:03 Joshua Robinson

The Daily Beast:
The question is simple: Would you want to get an injection with a clean sterile syringe or a used dirty one? Be a lifesaver.
Tuesday October 19, 2010 2:04 The Daily Beast

Should 1st-world countries withhold foreign aid to a developing world country unless basic health principles were in practice?
( 100% )
( 0% )

Tuesday October 19, 2010 2:06

marc koska:
there are many pressures on developing world health systems and the health care worker is "second to God!" So by informing the public we force a standard of behaviour upon both parties.

pls watch "Making the Point" on the film section of and you can see i tackled this in india.
Tuesday October 19, 2010 2:06 marc koska

[Comment From Young DentistYoung Dentist: ]
Are the needles being used in third world dentistry?
Tuesday October 19, 2010 2:07 Young Dentist

marc koska:
Yes they are but not enough! However dentists have systems specific to dentistry so not always applicable to use a plastic syringe, due to cartridges and drugs.
Tuesday October 19, 2010 2:08 marc koska

Joshua Robinson:
Where have you encountered resistance to the single-use syringes — either from patients, doctors, or governments?
Tuesday October 19, 2010 2:09 Joshua Robinson

marc koska:
Governments. AD syringes save money as less are used in time as less illness is spread (by doctors!). So it is so unbelievable that the phone isn't ringing with invitations, but I have to call them!
Individuals are sane, and don't wish to be harmed. Governments can't see the wood for the trees!
Tuesday October 19, 2010 2:12 marc koska

Joshua Robinson:
You'll be speaking at the Daily Beast's Innovators Summit this week in New Orleans. Can you give us a preview of what you will be talking about?
Tuesday October 19, 2010 2:13 Joshua Robinson

The Daily Beast:
Check up on all the panelists and speakers who will be at TDB's Reboot America Innovator's Summit starting later this week in NOLA.
Tuesday October 19, 2010 2:15 The Daily Beast

marc koska:
Well I want to tell my story but stress the future challenges that not only my subject face but many for helping the developing world. I believe there has to be a better way of helping speed up the scaling of winning, proven ideas and that has to be connected with open sourcing.
Tuesday October 19, 2010 2:15 marc koska

Joshua Robinson:
Thanks for joining us today, Marc. For more information about Marc’s work, be sure to check out and
Tuesday October 19, 2010 2:16 Joshua Robinson

marc koska:
Tuesday October 19, 2010 2:16 marc koska

The Daily Beast:
Join the conversation on Reboot America's Facebook & Twitter!
Tuesday October 19, 2010 2:17 The Daily Beast

The Daily Beast:
Thank you to everyone who joined us today. And many thanks to Marc Koska! Stay tuned for more TDB Live Chats in the near future!
Tuesday October 19, 2010 2:18 The Daily Beast

Taken from The Daily Beast

How to Save a Million Lives

by Joshua Robinson

A lack of a college degree or any engineering training didn’t stop Marc Koska, a speaker at The Daily Beast’s upcoming Reboot America conference, from seeing a problem—millions dying from reused needles—and doing something about it.

Marc Koska had always wanted to dig up one great idea, one major strategy for helping people in a global way. He didn’t know what it would look like or where it would come from. Like any cloud-headed student or barstool idealist, he just wanted to change the world.

Marc Koska

For the first 23 years of his life, Koska didn’t look around especially hard. The day after he graduated from the prestigious Stowe School in Buckingham, England, already set to forgo college, Koska became a garbage man. Just to pick up some money through the summer, not because of any calling in public sanitation. When he’d had enough of collecting trash, he looked at his options again and thought, “Well, I could go do something normal, which wasn’t really me. Or I could follow my nose and get on a train first.”

He chose the latter. For the next four years, aimless wandering carried him around the world, at times working on yachts and in ski resorts, until it landed him in front of a newspaper article one day in 1984. “It simply said, ‘One day syringes will be a major cause of the spread of HIV,’” he said in a telephone interview from England. “Sadly, that’s come horrifyingly true. Now we have a situation where, potentially, AIDS is spread as much by medical devices and poor practice as anything else.”

Indeed, unsafe injections are as serious as any epidemic in the developing world. According to a 2009 World Health Organization report, some 40 percent of injections worldwide are given with syringes and needles that are being reused without sterilization, causing an estimated 1.3 million deaths every year. HIV, Hepatitis B, and Hepatitis C are the main offenders. Educating patients to demand new needles is still a critical issue, as is the prevalence of dangerous medical practices—doctors who convince their patients they are breaking out fresh ones by rustling wrappers under their desks or nurses simply following orders.

“We’re told to,” one nurse in Faridabad, India, told the Times of London in 2009. “They tell us to use the syringes sometimes two times, three times, 10 times. I have seen them reused 30 or 40 times.”

“They are accustomed like this,” she added, referring to the doctors at her hospital. “They have practiced this way always, and they will continue. It may be they think if they reuse [syringes] they will save money.”

But the problem does not only stem from the economic interests of health-care providers.

"In developing countries, people go see the doctor and you can't get them out unless you give them an injection," said Dr. Ernest Drucker, an adjunct professor of epidemiology at Columbia University's School of Public Health. He cited a study dating as far back as the 1960s that showed that 80 percent of households in Uganda had a syringe, adding, "They feel like they haven't been treated if they don't get an injection. 'Magic shots,' they call them."

A syringe and needles in an Indian hospital, waiting to be reused

It is with these conditions unfolding throughout the developing world, that the idea Koska had been looking for began to crystallize 26 years ago. And by 1997, it turned into a patent for one of the first auto-disable syringes that also worked for curative injections. The name may sound complicated, but the idea is beautifully simple. How do you make sure people don’t use syringes twice? Make them impossible to refill. The K1, as Koska dubbed it, is equipped with a locking ring in the bottom of the barrel, so that when the plunger is fully depressed it stays there. Trying to pull the plunger back would snap the ring and effectively break the syringe.

The K1 model is not the only auto-disable syringe out there. When he first started working on it, there were more than 250 other patents around, and by the time he registered his, that number had grown to about 1,000. Of those, however, Koska says only about 20 had been made into prototypes and all of them were designed specifically for the small doses used in immunization. His design was also suitable for curative purposes, meaning the K1 could handle a whole range of doses.

Ultimately, it was a low-tech solution in a medical environment that is growing ever more expensive and sophisticated. Koska’s answer wasn’t a revolutionary apparatus, it was a small adjustment to existing technology with potentially massive impact. Not to mention a price tag for the developing world—K1 syringes sell for 5 cents, while many others go for as much as a $1 apiece.

“I always understood that what I was doing when I first came up with the design concept was going backward against the stream of thought,” says Koska. “The 270-odd patents, even 25 years ago, were all more complicated. I realized that none of them were going to get off the ground, because they were over-engineered. And over-engineering costs money to produce. I deliberately went to the simple end of the spectrum.”

Before he could even begin considering a design, Koska had to figure out exactly what he was dealing with. All he had in 1984 was a high-school science background and a newspaper clipping. So he spent over two years traveling, reading, and pestering anyone he could find who knew something about public health and had the technical know-how to help him. “I don’t think I even took any notes,” he says. “I just kept asking questions. I’d end up at the World Health Organization and ask them 20 questions about a trip I’d just taken to Kenya and watching immunization campaigns,” Koska says. “It was very random. But it built up a picture for me.”

Seventeen years after the idea first dawned on him, Koska sold his first syringe.

During that time, his efforts to popularize it did not make him any friends. Rival manufacturers, Koska suspects, were not especially pleased with his crashing the market. His first licensee in the developing world was suddenly and mysteriously bought out by an anonymous party and then bulldozed to the ground. Another factory in India simply failed to sell any. Finally, in late 2001, UNICEF placed an order. And soon after, he saw one of his syringes being used for the first time in Cambodia. (UNICEF has since made it a requirement of its campaigns to only use auto-disable syringes.)

Today, Koska runs Star Syringe, the company that owns his patents, alongside a nonprofit called Safe Point, which he started in 2006 for lobbying and education. His licensees are on the verge of selling their 2 billionth unit. Production is up to about 2 million a day, giving Star Syringe a 1 to 2 percent market share of all the syringes manufactured around the world, auto-disable and standard.

But beyond the worldwide numbers, Koska says that the real effect can be seen in places like the hospital in Tanzania, where the average stay has plummeted from seven days to three.

The only change it made was switching syringes.

Taken from The Daily Beast

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Women take on Kilimanjaro for charity

A WOMAN from Henley is hoping to climb Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania to help the health of the country’s people.

Catherine English, of Cromwell Road, and three other women will be raising money for SafePoint, a charity that is trying to start a safe injection healthcare programme by donating two million sterile disposable syringes.

The charity was founded by Marc Koska, who is married to one of the other women taking part and does business with Mrs English’s husband Nick, a Bremont watchmaker.

Mrs English said she jumped at the chance to become involved in the climb later this month when another woman dropped out. She said: “As well as climbing the mountain, we will be visiting schools, orphanages and hospitals to educate children, nurses and teachers in safe and sterile injections.

“Unsafe injections can lead to HIV, hepatitis B, hepatitis C and malaria and the Tanzania campaign aims to ease the burden of these diseases.

“A syringe costs just 7p. The simple message is ‘one injection — one syringe’.”

Mrs English, who has three children, Elodie, three, and twins Euan and Capucine, five, who attend Trinity school in Henley, will be climbing with Anna Koska, Clare Beale and Nicoletta Lacobacci, all from East Sussex. She has been training five or six times a week and meeting the other women once a month to do a big climb or walk.

She said: “We were advised to start working on our upper leg strength, back strength and core stability. We’ve been walking and cycling up hills and generally bulking up our legs.”

The women hope to raise between £10,000 and £20,000 for the K1 syringes, which were invented by Mr Koska.

One way of raising money is by “selling” flags to be taken to the top of the 19,334ft volanic mountain and photographed with the quartet.

To make a donation, visit

Taken from the Henley Standard

See also "Local charity SafePoint to scale dizzy heights in October"

Local charity SafePoint to scale dizzy heights in October

Training hard in the Ashdown Forest

Four brave mums from the Crowborough and Uckfield area are flying out to tackle the daunting challenge of climbing Mount Kilimanjaro this October to raise funds for the SafePoint Trust which is based in the heart of Ashdown Forest.

The SafePoint Trust is a charity set up to tackle the global problem of syringe re-use, which the World Health Organisation (WHO) credits with killing millions of otherwise healthy people each year. Unclean syringes are used repeatedly in surgeries and clinics in developing countries to administer vaccines and medicines. This is either to save costs, or because the doctor is unaware of the severe health implications this practice can have, as dirty needles can quickly and easily pass lethal diseases like Hepatitis and HIV.

The SafePoint Trust has single-handedly saved nearly 10 million lives through campaigning for safe injection practices in countries across the world, including India and Africa.

This climb will raise money to supply single-use needles to Tanzania, and will be attempted by Anna Koska, Clare Beale, Catherine English and Nicoletta Lacobacci. Good luck girls!

To find out more, or to make a gratefully received donation, please click here.

Taken from, written by Rebecca_H

See also "Women take on Kilimanjaro for charity"

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Marc Koska at Google Zeitgeist

'Google Zeitgeist 2010: Catalyst' by AlphachimpStudio (Peter Durand)

Marc spent an inspiring two days at Google Zeitgeist last month in Phoenix, Arizona.

He was invited to participate in an interesting panel discussion entitled, "Catalyst". Full-on discussions took place on: how some leaders are able to set off a chain reaction and how others can bring so much attention to new ideas and initiatives.

Zeitgeist invites the leading thinkers of our time to join together to explore ideas and debates on topics that influence not only the global economy, but also creativity, technology, leadership and human rights.

Here's Marc’s section on the panel:

Watch the full version here:

Thursday, 30 September 2010

The Climb Tanzania 2010: our High Altitude Health Assessments

Dr Jack Kreindler at 76 Harley Street, offered to give us a specialised High Altitude Assessment session to see whether we're up to the climb, both aerobically and anaerobically.

76 Harley Street is the most incredible and unique set up geared towards every aspect of personal health possible. One arm of that is one specifically geared towards the research and betterment of human performance, which is where we come in.

We were briefed on key aspects of the ascent by Jack Kreindler and tested by Jim Pate. We all thoroughly enjoyed the experience (in as much as anybody can whilst sitting on a bike wired up, gagged and going nowhere!) The experience was both fascinating and hideous and ended with us feeling happily capable but ravenously hungry.

We all now have a much clearer picture of what to expect and are all working hard to develop thighs like a prop forward, and eating for England.. well Tanzania actually.

Jim Pate, with Clare, assessing Nicoletta's performance

Nicoletta, the Italian Dynamo!

Clare, before kick-off

Me, wired up and gagged, and ready to go!

Catherine, setting the pace!

We are all very grateful to Jack Kreindler and Jim Pate of 76 Harley Street for the enormous support they have given SafePoint's Climb Tanzania 2010. By putting us through an incredibly thorough health assessment, it has enabled us to properly prepare for this infamously gruelling climb. So a big thank you to everyone at 76 Harley Street.

Anna x

About 76 Harley Street

76 Harley Street was established to set new standards in personalised medical and dental specialty care, diagnostics, screening and enhanced recovery - to prognose, prevent or get the very best outcomes. Their expertise now extends into coaching, human performance sciences, life-support / survival skills and high altitude pursuits for health promotion.

Monday, 20 September 2010

Marc Koska's Mission

Marc Koska

Marc Koska OBE has worked tirelessly over the last 25 years on Global Healthcare. He invented an AD (Auto Disable) syringe called K1 that prevents reuse. Technically, a valve - which breaks after the single usage - is moulded in the plunger. This very easy and cheap modification makes an accidental or abusive reuse physically impossible. The product costs are at about 5 cents apiece - the average price of a normal syringe.

Marc and the K1 have been credited with saving in excess of Nine Million lives and his invention is licensed by 14 manufacturers around the developing world. All Marc's energy is now put into lobbying for legislation change with his charity The SafePoint Trust - delivering hard-hitting safe injection campaigns.

Now, the DLD friend is launching the LifeSaver campaign that is inviting all global AD syringe manufacturers to include the new LifeSaver logo and message "New Packet. Used Once. Safely Disposed" on all their packaging.The logo is distinctive and easily recognized, and will act as a unique guarantee of a safe injection.

For more information on Marc go to and watch his mission statement in the video below:

What is DLD?

DLD is an inspiring community for the 21st century which features digital innovation, science and culture and brings together thought leaders, creators, entrepreneurs and investors from Europe, the Middle-East, the Americas and Asia.

DLD (Digital - Life - Design) is a three-day experience gathering 800 entrepreneurs, investors, philantropists, scientists, artists and creative minds from all over the world. With global diversity in attendees and an interdisciplinary perspective of digital, media, design, art, science, brands, consumers and society, the conference is known as the European forum for the "creative class".