Dr Deogratius seeks better wound treatment through antiseptic Herbal Wound Spray.

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By Eddie Ssemakula

In a highly commercialized pharmaceutical world, every step toward local medical innovation is a victory worth celebrating. Such is the story of Dr Delafrique, a medical student at Mbarara University School of Technology (MUST) he invented the “VEP Antiseptic Herbal Wound Spray”, an herbal formulation derived from locally sourced raw medicinal plants including Bidens Pilosa (Black Jack) and Aloe vera.

This innovative solution aims to revolutionize wound management, particularly for minor cuts, burns, and bruises, by offering patients a natural and accessible alternative. The origins of his Heroes in Health Award-winning project can be traced back to the student’s Annual Research Seminar, which was organized by the Association of Mbarara University Pharmaceutical Science Students on March 11, 2023, and in which various groups identified problems in their communities and found solutions through the design of pharmaceutical products.

Among the five competing teams, VEP Antiseptic herbal wound spray stood out as the best idea, with its members taking home the gold. This was a motivation to push the project even further.

Deo attributes the success of the project to the unwavering commitment and values upheld by the team. “Trust in God, dedication, perseverance, diligence, humility, and hard work have been the pillars that have supported the project’s journey from inception to the present.” He says.

However, his journey has not been without its challenges. Several shortcomings were encountered, including insufficient funding to complete the project’s initial stages and a lack of time to focus on the project because the team was entirely made up of students.

The project is currently at the stage of pre-clinical studies and undergoing necessary registrations with the National Drug Authority (NDA). These steps are vital before the product can officially enter the market and make a tangible impact on healthcare.

Speaking of his achievements, Deo stated, “Being recognized by the Ministry of Health has boosted my morale and motivation, so I am encouraged to strive for excellence. It has also served as a source of inspiration for others, encouraging them to pursue excellence as well.”

 Health player recognition also often comes with increased visibility among medical communities and prospective funders, a reality Deo might be eager to explore.

Digital optimism 

As an innovator, Deo is not blind to digital’s key role in advancing healthcare. He is pleased with the progress made in telemedicine and telehealth but cites access to hard-to-reach areas as one of the potentially daunting challenges of new technology.

With the potential to accelerate such innovation, the HIHA Initiative takes pride in providing a platform for it to be realized. HIHA Awards also bring to the forefront the tireless efforts of many labouring in the trenches of medical innovation towards making their world a better place.

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