Helping Third-World Kids Take Their Medicine in the Correct Dosage
The Releef Initiative is a non-profit, international, pharmaceutical corporation that is focused on product development to fulfill unmet needs in the world’s under-served areas by utilizing creative partnerships with for-profit development companies to achieve its goals. One of those creative partnerships involves Nectar Product Development, which undertook the mission of developing an easy-to-use dispenser for providing accurate dosages of medicine to children in the third world.
Controlling the Right Dosage
Children in poorer countries often don’t receive the proper dosage of medicine or vitamins. To address this problem, The Releef Initiative created a tiny, coated medicinal bead, about 0.5 to 1 millimeters in diameter, which can be easily mixed with food or water and administered to children with meals. However, because of the difficulty associated with adjusting dosages specifically to a child’s age and size, the potential exists for administration of incorrect dosages, which can result in poor health outcomes.
Correct Dosage at the Flick of a Wheel
To more accurately dispense The Releef Initiative’s medicinal beads, Nectar created an innovative medical dispenser that provides the correct dosage at the flick of a wheel. Nectar’s pro-bono services on the project included general research, human factor studies, industrial design, configuration, refined mechanical layouts, and prototyping. Nectar donated all licensing associated with the Releef Medical Dispenser to The Releef Initiative, which funds manufacturing partially through its ownership of intellectual property.
Improving Children’s Health in the Developing World
In developing the Releef Medical Dispenser, Nectar created a device that will let healthcare workers simply select one of five settings on a dial on the front of the dispenser, then press the button at the top to release the right number of drug or vitamin pellets into the child’s food. Clinics will be provided with a specific Releef Medical Dispenser for each type of medication and vitamin. Widespread implementation of the device will help improve children’s health—tailoring dosage specifically to each child’s age and size—throughout the third world.