Despite the hardships of Uganda being among the least developed countries, many innovators in Uganda are taking great strides on the world scene and Phillip Mukoza Mpaata, a pharmacist is proud to be one of them.
His drug dosing device for liquid medicines was early this year patented in the UK. The patent for Syringe Operated System (SYROPS) was granted by the UK patent office on January 26, 2016 with subsequent publication in the UK Patents Journal on February 24, 2016.
The device is a new concept for a smart dosing system which is an advancement from conventional dosing which is primarily done using syringes and spoons.
The patent is the first of its kind to be awarded to any Ugandan pharmacist.
What makes it unique?
According to Mpaata, his invention features a closure system and dispensing device all in one system.
“Current children dosing systems, especially oral syringes and clic-loc closures do not feature a child safety or resistance feature in a single incorporated design, neither do they feature a child safety/resistance mechanism to keep both the syringe and the clic-loc intact as a single unit on the device,” he says. This is a breakthrough since the traditional syringe was invented in the 1950s.
It is also the first dosing technology to feature and propose the integration of ISO standards for child resistance and Class 1 medical device design.
According to Mpaata, he invented the device in 2010. At that time he had just finished his internship with Lloyds Pharmacy. At the time, he was alternating in paediatric clinics where the need for mothers and baby caregivers to have a convenient way of measuring and administering medicines was indeed evident and essential.
“I have worked on the invention for more than five years now, actually this is my sixth year (2016). Currently, the Pharmaceutical Society of Uganda (PSU) is exploring ways of partnering with me to advance the invention as well as commercialise it,” he says.
He adds that the commercialisation aspect will be first initiated by PSU securing a reasonable budget to manufacture a prototype to demonstrate the concept with all features as described above. This then can be proposed and demonstrated to stakeholders such as Ministry of Health, local pharmaceutical companies/industries, private investors and the military.
Asked how the military is connected to the pharmaceutical inventions, Mpaata says his formulation can be useful because of its auto injector in dispensing medication especially in warzones.
“The idea can also make an excellent military device for administering emergency medicines to injured soldiers in war zones and special operations while at the same time helping to identify their position in real time to enable rescue.”
“As a medical device, it can also be used as a military spy device. This has to be redesigned with special sensor chips/RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) which upon being triggered by a dispensation mechanism will send signals to a military command centre or directly to receiver computer/mobile systems in an army hospital or military establishment monitoring the soldiers.”
Besides that, it has a variety of military functions conducive on the battle front. However, this device can be used in homes and medical facilities.
In the six years that Mpaata has spent working on the prototype, he has spent about Shs15m (£4,000). To ensure that the work is complete, PSU has agreed to fund the rest of the process. So far, the device has received a nod from the Intellectual Property Office (IPO). He says it is an exciting venture that has so many possibilities.
The invention has gone through various consultations with major design consultancies like Design Network North UK, Pera Technologies Ltd and 3D Design Ltd (Newcastle).
According to Pera Technologies Ltd (a leading UK design consultancy), such inventions once designed with the right features such as time and date stamping, digital dosing technologies such as weight specific dosing and monitored dosage control for elderly patients will cause a technological revolution in the pharmaceutical industry.
Mpaata is a registered pharmacist practicing community pharmacy in Kawempe and Namungoona.
He says he is interested in research and innovation especially in pharmaceutical formulations and medical devices.
This is not the first patent for Mpaata. He also holds a utility patent for an antimalarial formulation. He is currently pursuing efforts with the Pharmaceutical Society of Uganda (PSU) to advance a new locally made generic Fixed Dose Combination (FDC) formulation to reduce the pill burden of patients. He said he got the idea during his second internship at Mulago National Referral Hospital in 2013/2014.
Here, he observed that the healthcare system needed to come up with a locally made generic pharmaceutical formulation to curb the current pill burden which is evident in the treatment of malaria in children and adults.
Samuel Opio, the PSU secretary, says, “It is delighting to see young pharmacists start their careers on an invention platform. I believe this is the start of a new era in Uganda where innovations and inventions will begin to trickle into Pharmacy practice.
Opio urges pharmacists to patent their inventions rather than focusing on publishing research findings only. “As PSU, we are committed to supporting this initiative in every way possible to ensure it is commercialised and provide smart dosing solutions to the t challenges that are faced in the sector world over. PSU plans to set up a pharmacists innovators hub to encourage innovations among pharmacists.
This technology is used for the following:
• Accurate dosing devices for children and the elderly,
•Smart dosing devices for homes, hospitals and clinics,
•Military applications include emergency devices for special operations and battle field medicine
• Rescue medical devices for tourists and adventurers.
Fact file. Phillip Mukoza Mpaata was born in 1983. He attended YMCA Nursery School in Jinja, Nakasero Primary School. In 1996, he joined Jinja College for his O-Level, Arboretum Sixth Form College in Nairobi, and Hillcrest Secondary School. He enrolled for a pharmacy degree at the University of Bradford, West Yorkshire. He also holds a Master’s degree in Pharmacy with a Specialty in Paediatric Pharmacy.