April 14, 2020

Production of Ugandan-made hand sanitizer set to scale up to fight against COVID-19

A Cumming School of Medicine's global health partner, Dr. Data Santorino, is part of team that created a cost effective hand sanitizer made for Ugandan health facilities

The need for a locally made affordable hand sanitizer in Uganda has been brought to the forefront by the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr. Data Santorino, CAMTech Uganda country manager and a Ugandan pediatrician who has partnered with the Cumming School of Medicine (CSM) on SIM for Life projects, is part of the team that developed SaniDrop two years ago. Through his work experience Dr. Santorino saw a need for a Ugandan made sanitizer that wouldn’t irritate the skin and would reduce the rate of patient-to-patient infection in hospitals; “Our ultimate aim is to reduce the mortality from hand transmitted infections using hand sanitizer,” said Santorino.  

The SaniDrop team is comprised of experts in clinical medicine, business and engineering who are passionate about innovation and health care in low resource settings. The production of SaniDrop could not have come at a better time with the impending threat of increased transmission of COVID-19 in Uganda. “We would like to see this product reach every person who really needs to use it to prevent disease,” said Dr. Santorino. Production of SaniDrop was slated to scale up from 500L to 5000L.

SaniDrop was co-developed by Collard Group Ltd. in the CAMTech Uganda Co-Creation Lab at Mbarara University of Science and Technology (MUST). The CSM’s office of Strategic Partnerships and Community Engagement (SPaCE) has worked with CAMTech and MUST over the years on health innovation projects in low resources settings. Projects include SIM for Life Phase I and II which will support simulation at medical schools in northern and eastern Uganda, Mwanza, Tanzania and Jos, Nigeria.  And the development of the Augmented Infant Resuscitator (AIR) which provides feedback for those training in Helping Babies Breath (HBB). MUST was also a partner of SPaCE’s Mama na Mtoto project that focused on improving maternal, newborn and child health care in Lake Zone, Tanzania. University of Calgary students have also participated in CAMTech’s hackathons.

CAMTech Uganda is a global network of academic, clinical, corporate and implementation partners working to accelerate high-quality, affordable medical technology development for low-and-middle-income countries.

The SIM for Life initiative is working to establish a Regional centre of excellence in simulation training, research and skills enhancement among pre-service and in-service health professionals for East Africa.

Dr. Data Santorino smiling

Dr. Data Santorino, a CSM global health partner