Rethinking The Syringe: Interview With SafePoint’s Marc Koska

Rethinking The Syringe: Interview With SafePoint’s Marc Koska

Designer and non-profit founder fights unsafe injections by redesigning the syringe.

Plus Aziz
  • 9 march 2011

SafePoint’s founder Marc Koska has been searching for a solution to the problem that effects Asia and Africa, killing scores of people on a daily basis. The statistics are staggering. According to SafePoint’s site, people are unaware of how deadly re-purposing syringes is for patients. Kids can be injected by the same syringe already used 30-100 times. On a yearly basis, this leads to 230,000 HIV infections, 21 million Hepatitis infections, and 1.3 million deaths.

PSFK caught up with Marc to discuss his organization and recent push for legislative change in developing nations:

What are you working on right now?

I am concentrating on campaigning for legislative change in Pakistan and Tanzania through SafePoint. This will set the rules for the coming years, but at the same time providing evidence of reuse through undercover footage and public information films which we donate to the Government for distribution.

How did SafePoint come to fruition?

It came about because the product was not enough by itself to guarantee that the public got safe injections. The developing world public was in need of information as well so they could demand safe injections as well as being offered safe. Do you see what I mean – we had to create a sandwich!

Give us some insight into your creative process and how you designed a safer needle.

Always from the brief that it a) had to cost the same, b) had to be able to be made on existing machinery and c) be used in the same way.

What trend makes you optimistic about the future?

Well, I am cautious about the increase in Social Entrepreneurship as an activity and a buzz word, not because it isn’t a great trend, but because it isn’t fully understood I believe. Not only is the definition imprecise to me but also there is a huge range of activities being shoe horned into the subject. Having said that, at least it exists and it is growing massively. When I started we didn’t even have the phrase!

Do you feel that transparency is on the rise?

I don’t actually, but I am really encouraged that it is creeping into my field and others and hope it does take hold. After the banking crisis we do not see anymore openness in that sector, and I think the same with International AID and not for profits. But there are examples such as KIVA, where the connection between the lender and the borrower comes with a photograph. The world needs a massive change on this subject, but not sure we will see it sometime soon. I would like to make more and more of an example in my sector with transparency, and am working on highlighting this right now. So stay tuned!

Where do you go to find inspiration?

My inspiration comes from kids, especially my own, and any product or process that focuses on quality rather than quantity. I love to travel, and finding well made local products is a passion of mine. So much stuff around the world is the same, and localization has diminished, but finding something that is hand produced beautifully with care, is special. Wish there was more!

Thanks Marc!

Marc Koska



Fitness Advocate: Paving The Future of Workouts With Audio

Fitness & Sport
Brand Development Yesterday

Swipe Left On A Dating World Built To Keep You Single And Disconnected

Hinge's VP of Marketing Karen Fein tells us about the service's daring ditch of the swiping culture that's designed to attract advertising revenue, not meaningful connections

Arts & Culture Yesterday

Marvel Comic Tells The Story Of A Heroic Syrian Mother

Madaya Mom is the true tale of a family trapped inside a town for over a year


Get PSFK's Related Report: Sports Debrief

See All
Retail Yesterday

Brooklyn Cafe Lets Customers Pay By The Hour, Not By The Cup

Glasshour is an establishment that provides free coffee and pastries and charges for the time guests spend there

Technology Yesterday

Electric Spoon Changes The Way Food Tastes

The Taste Buddy is being developed to manipulate your taste buds and make everything more delicious

Related Expert

Bertrand Piccard

Solar Power, Aeronautics, Travel

Travel Yesterday

Bike Path In Poland Can Glow For 20 Years Using Solar Power

Cyclists can follow the shimmering blue lanes for better safety each time they ride

Technology Yesterday

Open-Source Toolkit Lets Communities Build Their Own Street Furniture

The Wikiblock database contains 30 blueprints of different neighborhood fixtures including benches, bus stops, and kiosks

Food Yesterday

Tiny Pub Only Has Space For Three People

Make Time For It is a small London pop-up bar that encourages conversation without the distraction of technology


Future Of Automotive
Scenarios Driving The Digital Transformation Of An Industry

PSFK Op-Ed october 20, 2016

Wearable Tech Expert: Designing Technology To Empower Connection To Ourselves

Billie Whitehouse, Founder of Wearable Experiments, shares her new vision for the quantified self

PSFK Labs october 21, 2016

PSFK Picks: Top 5 Performance-Enhancing Wearables

Our new report looks at innovations pioneering the future of performance through intelligent activewear and predictive analytics

Work Yesterday

Community Builder: How to Hack Slack

Claire Wasserman, Founder of Ladies Get Paid, describes how she's using an internal team communication tool to build a network of thousands

Advertising Yesterday

This Beer Was Brewed Just For Scotch Drinkers

Highland Park Scotch Whisky & Sixpoint Brewery have teamed up to create two limited-edition pairings for New York City boilermakers

Mobile Yesterday

Let An AI Librarian Help Sort Your Digital Bookmarks

A new app uses machine learning to help organize your virtual life

Mobile Yesterday

Pizza Hut Tattoo Lets You Place An Order From Your Body

The latest gimmick from the fast-food chain is a tattoo-like sticker that lets customers get delivery with a simple tap on their arm

Travel Yesterday

Reinvented Bicycle Inspired By Supercar Design

The yellow bike based on a Lamborghini has sharp edges and an aluminum alloy frame

Health Yesterday

Health Platform Gives Perspective On Your Weekly Habits

Gyroscope is a new wellness app that works by amalgamating data about your life into beautifully designed visuals

Beauty Yesterday

Korean Beauty Brand Uses VR To Let Customers Pick Their Ingredients

Innisfree created a unique experience for its Shanghai Disneyland customers with a virtual reality trip to select what goes into their purchase

Arts & Culture Yesterday

3D-Printed Creations Resemble Floating Paper Outlines

Japanese design firm Nendo's exhibition features works that look like sheets of material being folded, torn, and crumpled

No search results found.